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Date: Sat, 09 Nov 2002 19:07:17 -0800
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Symbionese Liberation Armys last fugitive captured in Africa
Symbionese Liberation Army's last fugitive captured in Africa
James Kilgore was a 'soccer dad'
By William Brand and Angela Hill STAFF WRITERS
November 09, 2002
The long hunt for James Kilgore, the last fugitive from the
flamboyant 1970s band of would-be
revolutionary-terrorists known as the Symbionese
Liberation Army, ended peacefully Friday in a posh suburb
of Cape Town, South Africa.
Like his former lover, Sarah Jane Olson, Kilgore, 55, had
gone far underground, assuming a new identity as
Charles William Pape, a bourgeois "soccer dad," married
with two children, and apparently working for a labor
relations institute at the University of Cape Town.
"Eventually, for every fugitive from justice, there is a day
of reckoning," said U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan in San
Francisco. "For James William Kilgore that day of
reckoning is today."
Kilgore's wife, identified as an American who taught
English at the University of Cape Town, was home but
was not arrested.
The arrest came just 18 hours after the other four
surviving SLA membersWilliam Harris, 57, of Oakland,
his former wife, Emily Montague, 55, Michael Bortin, 54,
and Sarah Jane Olson, 55 -- under a plea bargain
agreement entered guilty pleas to second-degree murder
in a 1975 Sacramento bank robbery-murder.
Kilgore faces the same murder charge and apparently has
a chance at the same deal. But authorities in San
Francisco insisted Friday Kilgore's arrest was a
coincidence and did not emerge from the plea bargain
However, sources close to the Sacramento investigation
were skeptical, and Jon Ophal, the son of the woman slain
in the bank robbery, wondered bluntly if someone close to
the SLA tipped authorities.
"Our family is pleased that he has been captured, and
come Feb. 14, we hope all of them will be sentenced
together. That will be the really final end to this," Ophal
In San Francisco, Stuart Hanlon, who represents
Montague, said charges of a tip-off were absolutely false,
but he said Kilgore was communicating to law
enforcement officers through a New York law firm.
"We were middle men for (Kilgore's) lawyers who were
talking with him," Hanlon said. "But no deals have been
made with the U.S. Attorney. I spoke with all four of (the defendants) today.
Nobody even knew where James Kilgore was.
"The idea these old friends would turn on each other after all these years is
absolutely absurd," Hanlon said. He declined to name the New York lawyers.
Pleased FBI officials in San Francisco said members of the South African
Servicesacting on information provided through Interpolknocked on
Kilgore's door in Claremont at 8:45 a.m. Friday Pacific Standard Time.
He said officers showed Kilgore an old wanted poster and asked if he was, in
fact, James Kilgore.
"He finally did acknowledge his identity, that he was James Kilgore," FBI
Agent Mark Mershon said during a crowded news conference at FBI
headquarters in San Francisco.
Ryan said Kilgore will be brought back to San Francisco as soon as possible
tried first on a single federal charge of possession of a pipe bomb. A
could bring 10 years in prison, Ryan said.
He is scheduled for arraignment in Cape Town on Monday.
The saga of the SLA was one of the 1970s hottest stories. The tiny
group of white college radicals and African-American former convicts was born
on Chabot Avenue in Oakland in 1972.
The SLA hit headlines with the 1973 assassination of Oakland school
Superintendent Marcus Foster, Oakland's first African-American
Two SLA "soldiers" were arrested for that murder after a gun battle in
On Feb. 4, 1974, the SLA kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst from her
Berkeley apartment. After months of activity, she converted to the SLA cause.
In May, 1974, six SLA members died in a nationally televised shootout with Los
Hearst and the othersexcept for Olson and Kilgorewere captured in 1975.
Kilgore had been a fugitive since he fled with Olson shortly after a mover
the pipe bomb with his fingerprint on it in an SLA safehouse in Daly City
Ryan and Mershon said Kilgore was a "contract" lecturer in English at the
University of Cape Town. However, a colleague at the International Labor
Resource and Information Group said Kilgore worked at the institute, known in
South Africa as a left-progressive think tank.
A Capetown resident described the suburb of Claremont as a community of
tree-lined streets and affluent homes. It is close to the university, and many
students and faculty members live there.
Mershon said the FBI believes Kilgore had been hiding somewhere in Africa
the early 1980s and had spent time in Zimbabwe, before moving to South Africa
South African police had been hunting for him for months, the FBI's Mershon
said, but a hot tip came just 10 days ago.
Kilgore was born in Portland, Ore., but grew up in Marin County, the son of a
wealthy lumber dealer. He was a standout athlete at San Rafael High School and
friends from those days remember him fondly.
"Jim was a friend of mine and this a real tragedy," one friend said in an
interview last year. "He was an outstanding student and athlete. I think he
Kathleen Soliah (Sarah Jane Olson) at UC Santa Barbara, he fell in love
and everything followed that."
Another high school friend recalled meeting Kilgore at a restaurant during the
height of the Vietnam War protests. "He was very much involved in the scene,"
he said. "But that's the way it was back then.
"I think you have to put a lot of this stuff into the context of the times.
It was a
very troubling time. It was confusing to anybody who went through that period.
"You see how they treat these other radicals who surface have been handled. I
hope they cut him some slack."
The underground life of Olson, who was born Kathleen Soliah and disappeared
with Kilgore, came to a sudden end June 16, 1999, when police pulled her over
in her white minivan in Southern California. They had received tips from old
acquaintances and viewers of the TV show, "America's Most Wanted," where a
$20,000 FBI reward had been posted for her arrest.
She pleaded guilty to placing a pipe bomb under a police car in Los Angeles in
1975 and is now serving a 14-year prison sentence.
Staff members Mike Adamick, Harry Harris, Wanda Hennig and Kristin Bender
contributed to this report.
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