Final SLA Member to Serve Parole in Midwest

A former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army has arrived in Illinois to serve his parole from a California prison.
Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Derek Schnapp says James William Kilgore checked in with his parole officer Tuesday morning. Schnapp says he can't say where Kilgore is.

Kilgore served a six-year sentence for the murder of Myrna Opsahl during an April 1975 bank robbery in Sacramento.

He was the last-captured member of the SLA, a radical 1970s-era group notorious for bank robberies, killings and the kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst.

Kilgore, who is 61, eluded arrest longer than any other SLA fugitive.

His, Teresa Barnes, is an associate professor at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

Kilgore was granted permission to join his wife in Illinois, where she moved after he was arrested in 2002 in Cape Town, South Africa, after nearly three decades on the run.

Kilgore had eluded arrest longer than any of his fellow SLA fugitives. His cover unraveled after the 1999 arrest of his former girlfriend, Sara Jane Olson, who had become a doctor's wife in St. Paul, Minn. Olson, formerly known as Kathleen Soliah, was paroled from a California prison in March.

His release marks "the end of the SLA and the era," said Stuart Hanlon, a San Francisco attorney who represented several SLA members.

The gang of mostly white, privileged would-be revolutionaries led by a black ex-convict also was responsible for the murder of Oakland school superintendent Marcus Foster, bank robberies, and the attempted bombings of Los Angeles police cars. Joseph Remiro is serving a life sentence for Foster's 1973 murder.

Kilgore, a native of Portland, Ore., joined the SLA after graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1969. He escaped the 1974 shootout with Los Angeles police in which six of the SLA's original members died.

He disappeared on Sept. 18, 1975, as the FBI arrested Hearst and other SLA members in San Francisco.

He resurfaced as University of Cape Town professor Charles William Pape, even writing a South Africa high school text book titled "Making History" under the alias.

Kilgore married an American woman, Teresa Barnes, and fathered two sons. Barnes, an associate professor of gender and women's studies at the University of Illinois in Champaign, declined to comment when reached by The Associated Press.

New York attorney Louis Freeman, who represented Kilgore after his arrest, did not respond to messages left Sunday and in previous days.

Kilgore's pending parole had sparked far less controversy than Olson's release. Her return to Minnesota drew opposition from Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the St. Paul police union and divided her neighbors.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League and the National Association of Police Organizations objected to letting Kilgore serve his year of parole in another state, but there has been little reaction in Illinois.

Kilgore served his state sentence after finishing a 54-month federal prison term for using a dead baby's birth certificate to obtain a passport in Seattle and for possessing a pipe bomb in his apartment near San Francisco in 1975.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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