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Former ad exec Richard Shenkman convicted in Conn. hostage-arson case

Conn. man convicted of kidnapping ex-wife, arson
Richard Shenkman AP Photo/Tim Cook

(CBS/AP) HARTFORD, Conn. - Richard Shenkman, a former advertising executive, is now facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison after being convicted Tuesday of kidnapping his ex-wife, holding her hostage for nearly 12 hours and burning down the Connecticut home they used to share.

Shenkman, 62, showed no visible emotion as the six-person jury in Hartford rejected his insanity defense and convicted him of all 10 charges, including kidnapping, arson, assault, threatening and violating a protective order. His ex-wife, who escaped without serious injury, testified that Shenkman fired a handgun near her head, prepared a noose for her. He also claimed to have rigged the house with explosives.

The standoff in 2009 ended when Shenkman came out of the burning home and pointed the gun at his head. Police subdued him with rubber bullets and stun guns and took him into custody. Two psychiatrists testified that Shenkman was psychotic at the time, but the prosecutor argued that he was just acting mentally-ill to avoid prison. He also presented experts who testified Shenkman wasn't psychotic.

Shenkman, who didn't testify, has been detained since his arrest. He is set to be sentenced Jan. 4. The 10 charges carry up to about 90 years in prison.

He also awaits trial for allegedly burning down his and ex-wife Nancy Tyler's former beachfront home in East Lyme in 2007.

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