---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 09 Nov 2002 18:51:11 -0800
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Ex-SLA member caught in South Africa
Ex-SLA member caught in South Africa after others plead guilty to 1975 killing
Fugitive James Kilgore had been working as a lecturer at the
University of Cape Town and living in a luxury suburb.
BY DON THOMPSON
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- last Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive in a
1975 bank robbery and murder has been arrested in South Africa, authorities
James Kilgore was arrested Friday morning, a day after his four fellow
pleaded guilty to the shotgun slaying of bank customer Myrna Opsahl, said
Lana Wyant, spokeswoman for the Sacramento County district attorney's
"It's good news," said Opsahl's husband, Dr. Trygve Opsahl. "When you're
dealing with a fugitive that's overseas, anything could happen. I understand
there was something in the wind."
Police in Cape Town, South Africa, said Kilgore, 55, entered the country five
years ago under the name of Charles Pape. He worked as a lecturer at the
University of Cape Town, where his wife also works, said police spokeswoman
He was arrested at his home in the luxury suburb of Claremont, and was
expected to appear in court Monday. South African police had tracked him
down with assistance from Interpol, Martins-Engelbrecht said
"A formal extradition request is expected," she said.
Kilgore had become a fugitive in 1975 to escape charges of possession of
explosives. He, like the others, was charged with Opsahl's murder only in
FBI officials in San Francisco did not immediately return telephone calls from
The Associated Press seeking further detail.
Law enforcement and defense attorneys had said Kilgore, a fugitive since 1975,
had been communicating with authorities, seeking a plea deal similar to those
of the other defendants who entered pleas Thursday.
The four former SLA membersnow middle-aged and grayingsaid they were
pleading guilty to the killing of a bank customer to escape the lingering
over their crime.
"It's the end of a whole thing that happened in the 1970s," said attorney
Hanlon, whose client Emily Montague admitted pulling the trigger. "Emily and
the others have accepted what they've done, they've lived with it for this
and it really hurt themand it's over."
Montague, William Harris, Michael Bortin and Sara Jane Olson pleaded guilty
to murder Thursday and face sentencing Feb. 14. Montague will be sentenced
to eight years in prison, and Harris, her former husband, will get seven
leading the group and keeping an armed watch outside the bank. Olson, the
former longtime fugitive arrested in Minnesota in 1999, and Bortin each
After the guilty pleas, Bortin said he and the other former members of the
wanted closure for themselves, for Opsahl's family and for a generation that
tried to change the world.
"I feel terrible for all the nonviolent people that were really idealistic and
well-intentioned in the ^A'60s," said Bortin, who admitted waving a gun and
announcing the robbery.
Opsahl's son, Jon, who was 15 when his mother was killed and led the fight to
see her killers prosecuted, said he is "glad this whole thing is over, and
truth and justice prevailed in the end."
The SLA became prominent when it kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia
Hearst in 1974. The testimony of Hearst, who joined the SLA after her
kidnapping and did prison time for taking part in another SLA robbery, was
expected to be key if the case went to trial.
Hearst's attorney, George Martinez, said his client's reaction "is basically
gratitude that this chapter in her life may now hopefully be finished."
In pleading guilty, Montague called the shooting accidental.
"There has not been a day in the last 27 years that I have not thought of Mrs.
Opsahl and the tragedy I brought on her family," she said.
Olson will serve her sentence after completing her 14-year prison term for a
1975 attempt to blow up two Los Angeles police cars. The others will remain
free until their sentencing.
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