Richard Shenkman had spent eight months planning to kidnap his estranged wife before the 12-hour standoff Tuesday that ended in fire in South Windsor, according to court documents.
He also told his attorney that Tyler would not make it alive to the next court date, court documents state. The couple was due in court that morning for a hearing related their ongoing divorce case. Neither showed up.
The ordeal started around 9:30 a.m. when Tyler was in the garage at Citiplace in Hartford. She went to pick up her dry cleaning and spotted Shenkman's car, according to court documents. She was on the phone with a friend when he suddenly appeared, grabbed her and held a gun to her head, and made her drive to their Tumblebrook Drive house in South Windsor, she told police.
As she drove to the home, he complained about things Tyler did wrong during the marriage and complained about her driving, she told police. He told her she would die if she did not do what he asked.
Her friend called police, police said. But when they arrived, Tyler and Shenkman were gone. They tracked the couple to South Windsor through Shenkman's cell phone, according to court documents
Once they reached the house, he threatened to kill them both by carbon monoxide poisoning, documents state. He had downloaded details about several methods of killing from the Internet, including carbon monoxide poisoning, hanging and blowing up the house with explosives, she told police. He had been using the Internet to research several ways of dying for several months, she said.
He also had video feeds wired into several televisions in three rooms, Tyler told police.
Once police made contact with him, he pointed a gun close to Tyler’s face and also fired a shot into the kitchen area.
He also shackled Tyler to a bolt in the lower part of the house, police said.
As the standoff went on, Shenkman allegedly told police the house was wired to explode and that this was a suicide mission. He also spent hours rattling off a dozen demands, including for a priest to remarry he and Tyler.
Tyler was able to escape around 8:30 p.m. When Shenkman went upstairs to check on the bomb squad robot, she pulled the eyebolt from the wall and ran out the back door.
Shenkman remained inside . He set the house on fire, police said, and remained inside the home until smoke forced him out, police said.
Shenkman was arraigned at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Hartford Hospital, where he was taken Tuesday night after finally emerging from the Tumblebrook Drive home in South Windsor home.
He was charged with attempted felony murder, arson and kidnapping. His bail was set at $12.5 million. The court asked for a mental health watch, medical watch and suicide watch. He was released from Hartford Hospital Thursday and taken to MacDougall-Walker prison in Suffield.
Police said they have had contact with him over the years for domestic type problems related to the divorce. He is also accused of setting the couple's beach house on fire in 2007. He was scheduled to hand the house over to Tyler that day.