IM CRIME FILES: End of the Line

In February 1977, Tony Kiritsis wired a sawed-off shotgun to his mortgage broker’s neck and marched him through crowded downtown streets, starting a 63-hour standoff that captivated the city. Almost the entire spectacle was broadcast on live television.

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Editor’s Note: The following originally appeared in the February 2007 issue and is included among IM‘s Best-Ever Crime Stories.

 

On the morning of February 8, 1977, Richard Hall arrived at his downtown mortgage company office to find a short man with thick sideburns named Tony Kiritsis already stewing in the lobby. Kiritsis had come to dispute the company’s foreclosure on his business loan, and he carried with him a long flower box. Rising from his chair, he asked Hall, “Have you got a minute?” Kiritsis had borrowed $130,000 from the Hall-Hottel Company at 129 E. Market St., and purchased land on which he intended to build a strip mall. Although he had trouble making the payments, the 17-acre property at the corner of Rockville Road and Lyndhurst Drive dramatically increased in value while he owned it. Kiritsis claimed to have buyers lined up that Hall was shooing away, hoping to foreclose on the loan. In Hall’s office, Kiritsis pulled a sawed-off shotgun from the flower box and slammed the executive against the wall. He ran a wire around the victim’s neck, down the barrel of the gun, and around his own finger and the trigger. If Kiritsis were to be felled by police, his weight would pull the trigger and kill Hall—an invention Kiritsis called a “dead man’s line.” Using the device to hold authorities at bay, he marched his hostage south on Pennsylvania Street and then west on Washington Street, scattering pedestrians and filling every office window they passed with horrified faces.

Commandeering a police car near the Capitol Building, Kiritsis forced Hall to drive to the Crestwood Village development on the west side, where the kidnapper’s apartment had been rigged with explosives. There began a three-day standoff with an ending so dramatic it forced both the media and the police to rethink their approach to hostage situations. It also changed national law and the lives of both men, devastating one and turning the other into an unlikely and infamous folk hero.

On the 30th anniversary of that crisis, here are the stories of the people who were there.

 

Skip Hess was a reporter for The Indianapolis News. He is now retired and living in Indianapolis.
I was in the newsroom and I was talking with the police chief, Gene Gallagher. He said, “Hold on a second, Skip. I’ve got a call on the hotline.” When he came hack, he told me I might want to get down to 129 E. Market Street. I asked him what was going on, and he said, “There’s some guy who has a sawed-off shotgun wired to another guy’s head and he says he’s coming out.” I darted out of the office with nothing but my notepad. I got there, walked in, and started up the stairs, and that’s when I saw Tony walking Richard Hall down with the shotgun. Tony was ranting and raving. I was so caught off-guard because I had stumbled right into the middle of it. I just backed up against the wall as those guys walked right past me. Hall had a lot of anguish on his face—a combination of humiliation and fear. As they walked out the entrance that I had just come in, I don’t think Tony even recognized that I was standing there because he was yelling and screaming.

Bill Fisher was just beginning a 30-year career as a cameraman for WISH-TV.
We heard a call on the police scanner that said there was a man with a gun downtown. We were just filming the doorway at 129 E. Market, and all of a sudden Tony bursts out with Hall. There were a bunch of civilians there, and everybody scattered. One lady ran right by my camera. We followed Tony west. We were about 25 feet away. The police were in a pack, following them down the street. Some of them had their guns drawn. Tony stopped two or three times and jerked Hall around, warning the police that if they got too close, he would shoot him. Then the police would back off.

Mike Harrison was head of jewelry repair at Windsor Jewelry on Meridian Street, where he still works today.
It was cold that morning. Tony came by so fast, it was a fluke that I even saw him. We had just opened the store, and in the mirror, I saw something. I told my partner, “I think that was a man marching another guy down the street with a shotgun.” We immediately locked the door. If you see a guy walking down the street with a gun, you don’t follow him. We kept the doors locked for 30 minutes and turned on the radio. It was chaos for the next three days.

Bill Hudnut was mayor of Indianapolis. He is now a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute in Washington D.C.
I was at City Hall, sitting in my office. When I looked out my window, I saw Kiritsis parading Hall around with the gun strapped to his head. Obviously Tony was somewhat deranged. Everyone was thinking what an awful thing this was, but I was impressed by Hall’s courage under fire. He was very stoic. He didn’t weep or wail. It was a smart way to behave. He was grim, but he was a good soldier.

Don Campbell was a 37-year-old officer for the Indianapolis Police Department. He is now a private investigator.
I was sitting in the IPD homicide office, and we heard on the radio that a man had exited 129 E. Market with a shotgun and was parading a hostage down the street. By the time I arrived, the police were converging on the scene. There were police cars coming from all directions, sirens everywhere.

J. Michael Grable was a 34-year-old IPD officer who had been on the force for 11 years. He is now retired.
When I arrived on the scene, Tony was walking Hall west on Washington Street. I confronted him at the corner of Illinois and Washington. He turned around and yelled at me because I was getting too else. I was just asking him what he wanted. My gun was under my sweater. The temperature was minus-5 degrees, and Tony had a short-sleeved shirt on. Tony slipped on the ice and fell, taking Hall with him. It’s a wonder the gun didn’t go off. If one of the two hadn’t fallen, Hall would have been killed right there. On the ground, Tony reached with his free hand toward a handgun he had on his side. If he had pulled that handgun out, I think I probably would have killed him. I had been shot once before, and I didn’t want to get shot again. But he just repositioned the gun in his belt.

Dave Skirvin was a 23-year-old personnel assistant for the State of Indiana, working at the corner of Market and Illinois streets.
That morning, someone had WIBC on the radio in the office. They made an announcement about a hostage situation somewhere downtown, but I had no idea where. This was about 9 a.m., and my co-workers and I always went out on break every morning around this time and had breakfast. So we came out of the building, walked south on Illinois and turned east on Washington Street. As soon as we turned the corner, there was Kiritsis walking Hall down the sidewalk toward us. We ran into a restaurant and stared out the windows. They marched right by us. Hall had a blank look on his face. Tony looked possessed. After they passed, we decided to come out of the restaurant and follow behind them. Kiritsis and Hall tripped, and the cops all pulled out their guns. We all ducked behind mailboxes and anything we could find thinking there was going to be a barrage of gunfire. We chose not to follow any further.

Mike Ahern was a 37-year-old anchor for WISH-TV. He is now retired and living in Indianapolis.
I was home and first saw pictures of it on TV. They were of Kiritsis leading Hall down Washington Street at gunpoint. I thought, “This can’t be going on live.” But it was. All the stations had recently purchased these Mini-Cams, portable news cameras. The picture really wasn’t that clear, but it was our first chance to use them. I headed to the station immediately.

“Tony slipped on the ice, taking Hall with him. If one of the two hadn’t fallen, Hall would have been killed right there.” —J. Michael Grable

Skip Hess, Indianapolis News.
I’m taking notes, and most of what Tony is saying at this point is “Get away! Stay away!” So although I was following, I was trying to do that. I’d done a lot of crime reporting, but this was pretty serious stuff. I was giving him 30 or 40 yards. People on the street were watching. No one knew what Tony wanted at this point. Somewhere along the way, I dropped off about half a block, because I was writing. He got to Senate Street, and it was at this point that he commandeered a police car.

Bill Fisher, WISH-TV.
We had followed them to Washington and Senate, where Tony told a police officer to get out of his car. He put Hall in there and had him drive. As this was happening, there was a car accident right behind me. A car had crashed into a telephone pole because the driver was distracted by all this. Police cars chased Tony at about 80 miles per hour down Washington Street.

J. Michael Grable, Indianapolis Police Department.
We had followed him down the street as far as we could on foot, because the last thing you want to do is allow a hostage situation to become mobile. But that’s exactly what happened. It became mobile.

 

It is now 9:15 a.m. Having marched Hall through the streets since the workday began, Kiritsis orders him to drive to the kidnapper’s apartment at Crestwood Village on the west side. They arrive at 9:35 a.m., just ahead of 75 police officers and a number of reporters that will soon reach 100. In a call to authorities from the apartment, Kiritsis says, “I am ready to die.”

Al Walker was a lieutenant colonel in the Indiana State Police and a friend of Kiritsis. He is now retired.
I was in the State Police office building near Crestwood Village when I heard Tony was headed toward that apartment. This was an IPD case, but I had known him since I was a little kid, so I wanted to be there. Years ago, his father owned a little dance hall on West 10th Street where my girlfriend and I would go. Tony was there sometimes. Of course, I got more acquainted with Tony once I was a detective. I would have a little complaint or run-in with him from time to time, but he didn’t seem like a madman. He had a temper, but you had to do something to provoke him. I wouldn’t say I was surprised, however. He was certainly capable of doing something like this if someone crossed him.

Don Campbell, Indianapolis Police Department.
When we got to the apartment, we realized Tony had planned this. The windows were strung with piano wire with keys hanging from them. There were rumors that he had wired the apartment with explosives.

Tom Cochrun was a reporter for WIBC-AM. He recently retired from his position as news director at WISH-TV.
I got dispatched to the Crestwood Village apartments shortly after Tony had arrived. There was a woman who gave us her apartment. We took over her telephone. Residents were being evacuated. A perimeter was being established.

Skip Hess, Indianapolis News.
When we got to Crestwood Village, most of the press went to the recreation area. It was full of couches and chairs, and jammed with reporters. That’s where we stayed for the entire 63 hours. I never left. I don’t even recall going to sleep. Indiana Bell came and set up a bank of telephones for the media. That’s how you got in touch with your newsroom. A confidential source in the police department would call me at designated times and he would update me: “This is what Tony is saying, This is what his demands are.” From a news perspective, we were getting some really good stuff. And from where we were, we could see Tony’s apartment. Tony said the apartment was wired with dynamite. It wasn’t, but after all this was all over, a police officer took me in there. I looked in, and the whole place had wires hooked to plates with burning candles above cans of gasoline. I couldn’t tell you how many there were. It was a bizarre sight.

J. Michael Grable, Indianapolis Police Department.
At the time, the IPD didn’t have any hostage negotiators. I had attended a two-day FBI hostage seminar, which made me the expert, if you want to call it that. This was before we knew what standard procedure was for a hostage situation. This was 1977, and hostage situations were almost unheard of. Tony had people calling him at home from the outside world. The first thing we would do today is cut the phone service so he couldn’t talk to anyone but us. Tony didn’t know what he wanted. He certainly didn’t have a plan for what was going to come next. He was just upset about what Hall did to him on that land deal. And I think he really had a legitimate complaint.

“Tony had some donuts, and he offered Dick one. Dick said, ‘I have a weight problem.’ Tony said, ‘Don’t worry. We’ll just get an extra pallbearer.” —Don Campbell

David Rimstidt was the Marion County chief deputy prosecutor. He is now a mediator at Van Winkle Baten & Rimstidt.
The prosecutor was in California attending a seminar. I was just 27. Because of my age, very few people realized I was calling the shots on the negotiation. Our department had an older guy who we put on TV just to give the appearance of a little more maturity. I was talking on the phone with Tony throughout the ordeal. You didn’t really talk with Tony, though. You listened to him. He was difficult to understand because he was so out of control with anger. He had all kinds of demands—$5 million and immunity from prosecution. We pretended to negotiate with him. Time was on our side because he had limited resources.

 

Sometime during the first day of the three-day standoff, Kiritsis calls veteran newsman Fred Heckman office and begins a dialogue. Soon, he refuses to talk to anyone else. Heckman, who died in 2001, begins acting as a mediator between the police and Kiritsis.

Cheryl Miller was a reporter for WIFE-AM. She is now an anchor and manager of news content for WIBC.
The first rule of news is: You report the news. You don’t become the news. And I think Fred regretted being dragged into the story. But he had to be there. Tony felt that he and Fred were buddies. I don’t believe Fred returned that sentiment. Tony thought, if Fred the distinguished newsman was there, the police wouldn’t kill him. He was using the media as a security blanket. The second day of the event, the national media arrived. It was a big story. This was 30 years ago, and there just weren’t many hostage situations, let alone ones this bizarre. My husband called and said, “When are you coming home?” I said, “When it’s over.”

Tom Cochrun, WlSH-TV.
I don’t know why Tony singled out Fred Heckman, other than the fact that at that time, WIBC was the leading news organization in the city. Fred was a major figure in the community, and well-known as an anchorman. Tony would not communicate with the authorities. He would only communicate with Fred. It became apparent to us in the newsroom that Fred was now a participant in the story, and therefore could not direct our coverage from then on. When Tony was belligerent, the police would have Fred try to smooth him out. I was extremely nervous about telling Fred the decision we had made. It’s like going to your boss and saying, “Boss, you’re off the story.” It was a bold thing to do. He was resistant at first, but in the end, he understood.

Bill Hudnut, mayor.
Fred Heckman was the key guy. He tried to talk Kiritsis down. The whole city was glued to the radio and television. It was instantly a national story, and it wasn’t real great for Indianapolis’ reputation. This was around the same time we were trying to improve our image and trying to get people to notice us for something other than the 500. It was one of the biggest stories of my 16 years as mayor.

Tom Cochrun, WISH-TV.
A behavior-modification specialist from Quantico, the FBI training academy, came down and was helping the locals chart Tony’s moods. They had a board in the command post that would graph his emotions. The official line was that Tony’s mood was up and that the situation was improving. At the same time, we knew that was not true. And we knew that Tony was listening to the radio this entire time. So in broadcasting, we had to ask ourselves, “What is the greater good? Is it the truth? Or should we try to protect Dick Hall?”

Don Campbell, Indianapolis Police Department.
There was a weight in the middle of the apartment that Tony would chain Hall to when he got tired of holding the shotgun to his neck. Tony had some donuts, and he offered Dick one. Dick said, “Tony, I don’t eat donuts. I have a weight problem and I don’t want to gain any pounds.” And Tony looked at him and said, “Don’t worry about it. We’ll just get an extra pallbearer.”

David Rimstidt, Marion County chief deputy prosecutor.
We were offering Tony everything he asked for without any intention of ever giving him any of it. We even haggled with him over the amount of money to make it appear that the offer was genuine. We wanted to say “yes” to him as much as we could to make him feel like he was in control. That got a lot of academic attention afterward. Folks from the federal government on down decried the fact that we negotiated with him. But our legal research was showing that any deal we cut with him would be under coercion and would not be enforceable. That’s frowned upon today. There’s this attitude of “We don’t deal with terrorists. We don’t make any kind of offers.” But I wouldn’t do anything differently.

Cheryl Miller, WIFE-AM.
Griffin Bell was the U.S. attorney general at the time. And I remember that he said, “Tell Mr. Kiritsis to give up and trust his government.” That got a snicker from the news media. But on Thursday afternoon, we were told that there was going to be a press conference and that Tony wanted it broadcast live. We were an NBC affiliate, and they wanted me to do live updates that would run coast to coast. I was only 21 or 22 years old. I was scared to death.

David Rimstidt, Marion County chief deputy prosecutor.
One of Tony’s demands was to have live access to the media, which we did arrange. Oddly, between expletives, Kiritsis was very respectful of authority. He was very respectful of the police officers and of me. He railed and railed against the injustices of the mortgage company and society, but I felt he was going to honor everything he promised us—that he was going to release Hall.

Skip Hess, Indianapolis News.
Toward the end, maybe an hour before Tony marched out with Richard Hall, the anonymous source told me over the phone, “Skip, we’re getting ready to bring him out. They’re going to shoot the son of a bitch. Tony’s going to come across the courtyard and there’s a marksman on top of one of the buildings and if he gets the chance, he’s going to shoot Tony.” I said, “What about the shotgun?” He said, “We don’t know if he still has it attached.” So I’m crouched behind a car outside the recreation room, and I see Tony come out about 20 feet away with Hall. It was dark. I had a camera, and I did something I wish I had never done. I took a picture and there was a “click.” A police officer whispered, “Skip, you know better than to do that.” And I did. Tony walked by me with Hall and into the recreation room, and total chaos occurred.

“I happen to be a goddamn pretty nice fella.” —Tony Kiritsis

Tom Cochrun, WIBC.
We followed Tony and Hall into the recreation area and it was this Fellini-esque scene. Here was Tony Kiritsis with Hall still wired to the shotgun, the chief of police and all these reporters clearly in the line of fire. It was completely silent except for Tony and the click of the cameras. The tension was immediately palpable. Hall looked absolutely fatigued.

Cheryl Miller, WIFE-AM. When Tony and Hall came in, they looked like an organism with 20 or 30 legs—the police surrounded them. Fred Heckman was in that group. Tony was wild-eyed. He hadn’t slept in days.

 

Kiritsis begins a 23-minute, expletive-laced rant on live TV, listing seven grievances against Hall and his mortgage company. His moods shift violently from sadness to laughing to anger.

Tony Kiritsis.
“Turn the goddamned cameras on. I’m gonna show you something. February 10, 1977 … I’m the man that was called a kidnapper. I’m a goddamn national hero, and don’t you forget it. I’ve had this gun stuck in this cocksucker’s head for three days. They’ve had one stuck in mine for four and a half years … I hope this gun doesn’t go off. I’m having too much fun … [The Halls] took a goddamn good shot at ruining a good man’s life, and that’s me. I happen to be a goddamn pretty nice fella … My friends would say I’m the most stable man that they know. Can you imagine what it would take to drive a man like me to do a thing like this? Ladies and gentlemen, when I picked up this shotgun Tuesday morning, all the hell I’ve been through seemed like a goddamn picnic. I’ve never felt such trauma as when I picked this thing up, walked out the door and drove downtown. And these people made me do it … I want everyone that’s called me and said they were sympathetic to know that I damn well appreciate it. [Kiritsis starts to cry.] I was in trouble, friends. When you saw one of these goddamn things off and kidnap somebody, I tell you, it’s … a narrow, one-way road.”

Mike Ahern, WISH-TV.
That’s the most vivid memory of my entire news career. I was sitting in our newsroom and watching the People’s Choice Awards. John Wayne was stepping to the microphone to accept an award, and all of a sudden, John Wayne turns into Tony Kiritsis. Someone in our control room made the decision to go live at that moment.

Skip Hess, Indianapolis News.
Tony went on for almost 25 minutes. “Richard Hall’s a no-good son of a bitch, and he screwed me out of money” and so on. Everybody was very quiet. Nobody asked any questions. He was making his statement. It wasn’t like a real press conference. He would stop and it would be dead silence. Tony was crying, and Hall had his eyes closed. I think Hall thought, “It’s coming. This is it.”

Mike Ahern, WISH-TV.
It was a watershed case for television news. It raised questions about responsibility, and whether or not we were being used by Kiritsis. Those portable cameras that made us so omnipresent also made us vulnerable. We were pretty much at the mercy of anyone who chose to create a news story. There were a lot of firsts in this story that people don’t realize. Tony wouldn’t have taken Hall hostage had it not been for the fact that he was going to have that coverage. I’m convinced of that. If I had it to do over again, I’m not sure we would have stayed live. We were saying, in effect, to the television viewer, “This man may blow this man’s head into your living room at any moment, and it’s going to be dramatic, and it’s going to he theatrical. It’s going to be great stuff, and we’re going to bring it to you.” We chose to stay live because the story was so overpowering. The story had outrun us.

Cheryl Miller, WIFE-AM.
As the kid in the newsroom, my job when the news conference started was to make sure nobody kicked the cord loose from the phone that gave us the on-air signal. I remember standing on a folding chair in the back of the pack looking over a crowd of reporters. What Tony couldn’t see was that down all the halls that came off this recreation room like spokes, there were SWAT team members, each with an automatic weapon.

Bill Fisher, police chief.
Gene Gallagher told me a story: The police had talked to a doctor and asked what was the quickest way to drop a man if you shot him in the head. He said, “Right under the neck and below the ear. If you put a shot there, he’ll die instantly.” Apparently, Gallagher had a gun in one pocket and a handkerchief in the other. The deal was, when he pulled the handkerchief out, that meant everybody get ready, I’m going to shoot Tony. He said there were two or three times when he had his hand on the handkerchief ready to do it, and then things would calm down. There was a deputy standing next to Hall. When the handkerchief came out, the deputy’s job was to push the shotgun away from Hall’s head as much as he could so that the shot would go into the ceiling.

J. Michael Grable, Indianapolis Police Department.
If Tony didn’t relinquish the shotgun after he read his grievances, Gene Gallagher was going to kill him. The police were not going to let him march Hall back to the apartment. That was not going to happen. He had strung this thing out as far as it was going to go.

Cheryl Miller, WIFE-AM.
Tony finally stopped talking, and it seemed abrupt. The police led him not back outside to his apartment, but down one of these halls off the recreation room. Police Chief Eugene Gallagher turns to us and says, “All you people, get the fuck out of here.” The news media evacuated. We get hauled outside, and it’s bitterly cold. We were trying to do reports on the phone about what was going on. And then we heard a shot.

Skip Hess, Indianapolis News.
Tony walked Hall out of the recreation room and into a side room. There were a number of police officers there, and Tony released Hall, then walked to the sliding glass door and fired a round outside to show the gun was loaded. He was laughing, like, “By God, I told you.” Hall just collapsed. The police walked over and arrested Tony. They had promised him immunity and all kinds of money, but they weren’t going to honor it. Tony was muttering, “That’s a cheap shot.”

Al Walker, Indiana State Police.
I was standing right beside Tony in that recreation room. Man, there was a crowd in there. I thought that was going to be his grand showing—he was going to blow Hall’s head off. But it didn’t happen that way, and I’m glad it didn’t. Tony was just a guy who had a bad day. Kiritsis was tried later that year in Marion County Superior Court on charges of kidnapping and commission of a crime while armed. His antics during the proceedings were almost as bizarre as the ordeal itself. Among other belligerent allegations and non sequiturs, Kiritsis accused Hall of having once mocked his sport coat.

Skip Hess, Indianapolis News.
An interesting thing happened at the pre-trial hearing. I was there when they brought Tony in on a gurney, strapped down. He’s ranting and raving, and he looks over at me and says, “Skip, you son of a bitch, you never came back and bought that car from me.” I thought, “What the hell is he talking about?” It suddenly dawned on me—10 years earlier he worked for a Pontiac dealership on Keystone Avenue. I was thinking of buying a 1968 Pontiac convertible. Tony was the salesman, and I told him I would sleep on it. Two days later I came back and Tony wasn’t there. I bought the car from somebody else. Tony never forgot that. This guy could hold a grudge.

Nile Stanton was Kiritsis’ chief defense attorney. He is now a professor for the University of Maryland’s University College distance-education program, living in Greece.
We knew that for the insanity defense, the burden of proof at the time was for the state to prove sanity, which struck me as a ridiculous standard. Who can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt to be sane? But that was the standard. Tony didn’t want to assert the defense at all. Tony was a law-and-order man. He had Old Testament values. He wanted to plead not guilty, that Hall had messed him over and therefore it was justified. I told him that’s not a defense, it will just get you life in prison. Tony finally went along with the insanity defense at my insistence.

 

After a two-week trial, the jury delivered a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. Kiritsis was ordered to undergo psychological testing and could have been a free man in six months, but he refused and spent 11 years in mental institutions and prisons for contempt. The verdict outraged some, and had a far-reaching effect on the insanity defense. The judge awarded the shotgun—which had been altered so it could no longer fire—to officer Don Campbell for his service.

Nile Stanton, Kiritsis’ chief defense attorney.
Politicians were outraged by the verdict, of course. But Tony’s mind really had fallen apart. And it had vast impact on American law. The following meeting of the Indiana legislature decided the burden should he on the defendant to prove insanity. Then the following year insanity laws around the country changed.

David Rimstidt, Marion County chief deputy prosecutor.
That verdict was a terrible disappointment for me, but not unexpected. There was nobody, of course, who thought this man was in control of his faculties. But did he know right from wrong? Absolutely. If I had been on the jury, he would have been found guilty.

Nile Stanton, Kiritsis’ chief defense attorney.
Misguidedly, Tony had become a kind of folk hero. When they announced the verdict in the middle of a Pacers game, the audience cheered. People saw him as someone who stood up to power and said, “I’m not gonna take it anymore.” In Tony’s mind, that’s what he did. Hall seemed badly shaken as you might expect. For him, it was deeply disturbing. It was the ultimate humiliation.

Skip Hess, Indianapolis News.
I don’t think Dick Hall has ever uttered a word about it. He made it clear that he wouldn’t discuss the incident with the press—not then, not ever. It really spooked him. I had a friend tell me that Hall worked for a southside company after all this, and he spent 100 percent of his time staring out the window as though Tony were going to come back and get him.

William Bolles is a lifelong friend of Richard Hall. He is retired and living in Mequon, Wisconsin.
A folk hero, my ass. Anybody who thinks Tony Kiritsis is a folk hero doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Before all this happened, Dick Hall was an outstanding, well-rounded young man. I got to be good friends with him in the third grade. I went to the same grade school with him, and the same high school. I had known him all my life, and he was always a good guy—outgoing, a good student, a first-string quarterback. After this happened, he had a nervous breakdown. Two or three years later, he got divorced. He wasn’t capable of carrying on his business. It was so traumatic that Dick never said a word to me about it. I think he’s just like the soldiers who come back from Iraq. They talk about veterans coming back who are shell-shocked. I think that happened to Dick. He tried awful hard to overcome it, but in the end it did something to him. He became very quiet and depressed. It completely transformed his personality.

James Baldauf was a fraternity brother of Richard Hall at Purdue University. He is now retired and living in Indianapolis.
My wife and I saw Dick Hall and his wife socially six months after this happened, and oh my, it affected Dick’s personality. Dick was an all-American guy. He had what every mother wants—he was a high school football hero, a Navy pilot, all that stuff. And it’s just a shame what this did to him. He became quiet, had depression. I think it’s fair to say that it contributed to his divorce and the loss of his business. His friends and I have talked about the sad state of affairs of his life. It changed him dramatically. Tony is no folk hero. Dick Hall wasn’t the kind of person who would swindle anybody. He foreclosed on a loan. There are foreclosures every day. It was just business. Tony was a nutcase and an idiot.

 

Kiritsis was released in 1988. Although he was infamous in Indiana for the rest of his life, he found work as a car salesman and maintained his claim that the mortgage company had cheated him—frequently calling members of the media with his conspiracy theories. Kiritsis died of natural causes in 2005. Richard Hall is said to be retired and still living in Indianapolis.

Don Campbell, Indianapolis Police Department.
I saw Tony the day he got released at Charlie Brown’s restaurant in Speedway. Here’s a guy who spent 11 years in mental hospitals and prisons, and he looked exactly the way he did the day he got arrested. He hadn’t changed at all. And he walked up to me and said, “Do I know you from before or after I got in trouble?” I said, “During.” He said, “You’ve got my shotgun, don’t you?” I told him it wasn’t going to do either of us any good because it had been decommissioned. He just laughed. That’s the last time I ever saw him.

This article appeared in the February 2007 issue.

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