Last captured SLA member is released from prison

LA Times

by Ari B. Bloomekatz

James William Kilgore, the last captured member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, was released on parole Sunday morning from a Northern California prison.

Kilgore, 61, was arrested in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2002 after almost three decades on the run.

He was one of five SLA members who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 1975 death of Myrna Opsahl, a 42-year-old mother of four who was killed by a shotgun blast after she arrived at a suburban Sacramento bank.

Kilgore apologized to Opsahl’s family at his sentencing, saying he wished he could live that day over.

He served a two-year sentence for possession of an explosive device and making false statements on an application for a passport. In 2006, he began a six-year sentence for Opsahl’s murder.

Kilgore, a former honors student from a wealthy Marin County family, joined the SLA after college. The group was a Vietnam War-era revolutionary outfit that gained notoriety after kidnapping heiress Patricia Hearst in 1974.

After fleeing, Kilgore spent more than two decades in Zimbabwe and South Africa. He had married an American woman overseas, raised two sons and worked as a university professor.

He was released at 12:20 a.m. from High Desert State Prison in Susanville, near the border with Nevada and about 180 miles northeast of Sacramento, said Oscar Hidalgo of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Kilgore is the last of five captured SLA members to be released from custody. Another, Sara Jane Olson, was released in March.

He will serve his parole term in Illinois, where his wife lives, Hidalgo said.

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Posted in USA

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