Nancy P. Tyler’s Continuing Nightmare

Nancy P. Tyler
Nancy P. Tyler

 According to the Hartford Courant, a judge today denied Richard Shenkman’s request for a gag order.  He was not happy with his ex-wife Nancy P. Tyler’s appearances on national talk shows.  In addition, he wants the suicide watch to be lifted because he resents the intrusions on his privacy in jail.  

His attorneys are blocking efforts to remove the stinking charred rubble of the house, and apparently Ms. Tyler can’t afford to have it removed.  If the town has to assume this duty, her property will be sold at auction to pay for the costs. 


Shenkman’s bail of $575,000 in the 2007 arson case was revoked on July 22 by Judge Susan B. Handy.  He remains in jail with bail set at $12.5 million in for the arson at Ms. Tyler’s home in South Windsor on July 7.  Unfortunately, I’m rusty on my criminal law.  I don’t know if this means his brother can still bail him out or not.  

On their web site, the Courant has a video as well as the chilling recounting of the July 7 hostage standoff by Det. Don Skewes and other officers on the SWAT team.  Here’s what Ms. Tyler had to say about her ordeal on Good Morning America to Diane Sawyer.  You can watch the video reports of her appearance at WTNH’s web page:  

There is no doubt in my mind and by end of the day when we hit about what I guess was the 12th hour, I was almost ready to let him do it because I was exhausted.  I was ready to give up.  I couldn’t stand and could barely walk.  

It was terrifying, terrifying.  I said what I had to say to survive.  

All day he said the house was set to explode.  He had propane pockets set up.  He had a motion detector on the roof so the skylights were of no use.  He had all the doors wired so that if anybody breached the doors they would blow up.  

When something would upset him, he would point the gun at her head and start a countdown.  Richard handcuffed her to an eye bolt in the basement; she leveraged her handcuffs to yank the bolt out of the wall.  

I didn’t know what I was going to do if I got the bolt out of the wall because I didn’t know what door was safe.  At that moment, it was either stay and die or go.  And I yanked the bolt out of the wall.  I ran out of the room down the hall and into another part of the basement because there was a door at the far end of the basement.  I didn’t know if it was wired or not, but it was either die by a gun to my head or die going out a door hoping to escape.  So I ran.  

Ms. Tyler prayed for strength throughout the day and used her rosary beads.  Her husband demanded a priest be called to administer last rites.  

Note:  You can read an earlier post on this story by clicking here.  Ms. Tyler had a protection order against her ex-husband.  This is the second time he’s allegedly torched her home rather than surrender possession.  His billionaire brother keeps paying his bail, and Richard Shenkman has successfully avoided trial on criminal charges. 

Update:  On October 6, 2009, WTNH8 reported that Shenkman was held in contempt of court and ordered to pay Ms. Tyler $180,000 for failing to pay money as required by an earlier judgment in their divorce case.  Shenkman is being held in jail without bail. 

On October 17, the Hartford Courant reported details of the 9-1-1 tape.

On January 27, 2010, Ms. Tyler spoke out about her experiences during a press conference.


2 responses to “Nancy P. Tyler’s Continuing Nightmare

  1. I watched episode tonight on 20/20. I cried as I am going through the same thing right now. my ex husband will be out of jail in a few months and I am very afraid that the same will happen to me. God Bless her, she gives me a little hope.

  2. Ms. Connell,

    Thank you for your comment. I too powerfully relate to Ms. Tyler’s story.

    If possible, please consider entering your state’s Address Confidentiality Program before your ex is released from jail. It requires substantial alteration of our lifestyles, but it might keep you safe and bring you peace of mind. In some states, the programs are called Safe @ Home.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Anne Caroline

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