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Dead Man's Wire: The Kiritsis Crisis

Tuesday, February 8, 1977 started like any other cloudy day in a cold Indiana winter. That changed around 9am when Tony Kiritsis walked in to Meridian Mortgage for a meeting with the company’s president, Dick Hall.

Once behind a closed door Kiritsis pulled a gun and then wired Hall’s neck to a sawed off, double-barreled shotgun.

For the next 63 hours Indianapolis collectively held its breath as the odyssey played itself out live on WIBC and local television stations. Kiritsis shocked onlookers as he paraded his hostage, shotgun to still at his head around the streets of downtown, stole a police car and then holed up at his apartment until Kiritsis’s rambling press conference at the end of the siege.

What happened during those three days changed police methods, media coverage and Dick Hall’s life.


Dead Man's Wire: The Tony Kiritsis Crisis Audio Documentary.

Dead Man's Wire recounts the events of February 1977 using original audio unearthed from the WIBC archives and brand new interviews with Dick Hall, Tom Cochrun, Paul Page and Lee Giles.

For the first time in 40 years, you'll be able to hear WIBC's original news reports from Crestwood Apartments, listen in on the phone calls between Fred Heckman and Tony Kiritsis, and meet the people who played a key role in the Tony Kiritsis Crisis--and you can do it all from your mobile device or PC.


 

Kiritsis Timeline

December 19, 1972  Tony Kiritsis buys a mortgage through Meridian Mortgage, with payment of $170,000 due on March 1, 1977

 

February 8, 1977

8am • Tony Kiritsis takes Richard Hall hostage, marches him through downtown Indianapolis

8:30am • Kiritsis commandeers police car, makes Hall drive west on Washington St. and out of town

9:35am • Kiritsis & Hall arrive at Crestwood Apartments on Indy's west side

10am • Negotiations begin between Kiritsis and LEOs

9pm • Meridian Mortgage apology broadcast live

 

February 9, 1977

6am • Kiritsis calls WIBC's Fred Heckman for the first time

9am • FBI behavioral expert Patrick Mulany arrives; negotiations continue

5:30pm • "The 5:30 Crisis": Kiritsis hears a report from WIBC's Doug O'Brien about presence of a SWAT Team, goes on a tirade

Evening/Late Night • Immunity talks begin as a result of The 5:30 Crisis

 

February 10, 1977

6am • Kiritsis calls WIBC's Fred Heckman to apologize for The 5:30 Crisis

8am • Heckman becomes part of negotiation team at Crestwood Apartments

10pm • Kiritsis and Hall hold a 23-minute, expletive-laden "press conference"

11pm • Hall is released; Kiritsis is arrested and charged with kidnapping, armed robbery, and armed extortion

 

October 1977 — At trial, Kiritsis found not guilty by reason of insanity and is institutionalized

1978 — Indiana General Assembly revises insanity defense laws as result of Kiritsis trial

1988 — Kiritsis released from mental institution and moves to Speedway, Indiana

January 28, 2005 — Tony Kiritsis dies at age 72


Follow Tony Kiritsis and Dick Hall's journey through downtown Indianapolis by hovering over each of the blue map icons below.


You can hear the reporting of this true story crime story on 93.1 WIBC.

What will you hear?

• An accurate and authentic telling of the Kiritsis Crisis from WIBC audio that has been stored since 1977. • Parts of a WIBC documentary from 1978 called Three Days at Crestwood and new interviews with then WIBC reporters Tom Cochrun and Paul Page, former WISH TV News Director Lee Giles and for the first time in almost 40 years new audio from hostage Dick Hall.

What time will you hear it?

February 8th @ 9am

February 10th @ 10pm

February 11th @ 3pm

February 12th @ 10am


Cast of Characters

• Anthony George "Tony" Kiritsis

In 1972, Kiritsis applied for an $110,000 commercial loan from Meridian Mortgage for a 17-acre plot near South Lynhurst Drive and Rockville Road . He refinanced his loan in 1976, and the new loan amount of $130,000 was due in full on March 1, 1977.

•Richard "Dick" Hall

42-year-old Richard Hall was president of Hall Management Corporation and Hall-Hottel Company, two family-owned and operated businesses that specialized in commercial and residential real estate. He wasn't involved in Meridian Mortgage on a daily basis, and up until February 8, his interactions with Tony Kiritsis were fairly limited.

Today, Hall says that he wasn’t scared during the Kiritsis crisis, for no matter what the outcome, he had faith in God and a belief that things would turn out the way they should.

•Fred Heckman, WIBC News Director

For more than three decades, Fred Heckman was WIBC news.

Fred Heckman came to 1070 WIBC-AM in 1957. He served as WIBC's news director for 32 of his 36 years at WIBC and retired in 1993. Fred passed away in Indianapolis in 2001 and is remembered for his dedication to integrity, ethics and strict journalistic standards.

•Pat Mullany, FBI Behavioral Expert

A central figure in the safe resolution of the Kiritsis Crisis was FBI behavioral expert and renowned criminal profiler Patrick Mullany. Mullany’s psychological profile of Kiritsis played a key role in the safe release of Dick Hall and arrest of Tony Kiritsis.

Mullany and fellow FBI agent Howard Teten formed the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit in 1972 and pioneered the system of analyzing crime scene evidence for information about a criminal’s psychological makeup.


It's a blast from the past: The "Sounds of '77: Tony Kiritsis Playlist" featuring real WIBC audio from February 8 - 10, 1977.


Scenes From '77

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Jimmy Carter, U.S. President 1977-81
Photo by: 
Karl Schumacher/Library of Congress
Georgia-born Democrat Jimmy Carter became the 39th President of the United States on January 20, 1977. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his work with the Carter Center.

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