Ex-Policeman Releases Hostage After 15-Hour Ordeal
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ An ex-policeman convicted in a pension fund scandal surrendered Sunday, 25 hours after taking the police official who exposed the scam hostage on the 15th floor of an office building, authorities said.
Anthony D. Daniele, armed with an unidentified weapon, released John Frank, vice president of the city police board, early Sunday and gave up 10 hours later. A day before the standoff, Daniele was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Authorities said Daniele had two guns, one that he brought with him and another that he got from Frank’s desk. He told police that he had used explosives to booby-trap the door to the office where he held Frank, but police said that turned out not to be true.
″At about 11 a.m. this morning, he said ’I’m tired, I’m coming out,‴ said police spokeswoman Linda Hancock.
Daniele, 39, who was once a member of the Police Department’s hostage- respons e team, was with his attorney when he surrendered, authorities said.
Frank, 53, was apparently unharmed, police said.
A hostage-response team and dozens of officers who had surrounded the building had negotiated with Daniele, said Ms. Hancock.
Daniele’s attorney, Donald Wolff, told radio station KMOX that Daniele gave up after an agreement was reached not to file any further charges against him. Before the standoff ended, police agreed to Daniele’s demand to talk to his attorney, his family and Bill McClellan, a columnist for the St. Louis Post- Dispatch.
McClellan, who had met Daniele while covering the Police Department, Daniele wanted to ″talk about his case and profess his innocence.″
″I think he just wanted to get the word out,″ he said. ″It’s hard to put a rational motive on something that is irrational. He said he had just been driven to the edge.″
Daniele was taken to the Federal Corrections Institute in Springfield, where he will undergo psychological evaluation, said police Lt. Col. James J. Hackett.
Frank exposed a kickback scandal that cost police and fire pension funds an estimated $333,000.
On Friday, Daniele was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to make restitution of $200,000 for his part in the scam. He was convicted of extortion, conspiracy and mail fraud, and could have received 32 years in prison. He was free pending an appeal when the incident began, authorities said.
The scam was carried out by paying a brokerage artificially high commissions on stock transactions that were made with pension funds, prosecutors said. Participants in the scheme were then given back part of the money.
Daniele, who headed the police pension fund, was the only one of six men indicted to stand trial. The others pleaded guilty to lesser charges and also were sentenced Friday. Attorney Donald C. Anton, who was considered the mastermind of the plan, was sentenced to nine years in prison. The others were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six months to three years.