SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The last captured member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, the radical 1970s-era group notorious for bank robberies, killings and the kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, was released from prison Sunday, a corrections official said.
James William Kilgore, 61, was paroled from High Desert State Prison after serving a six-year sentence for his role in the murder of housewife Myrna Opsahl during an April 1975 bank robbery.
The victim’s son, Jon Opsahl, said Sunday it felt “ironic” and “strange” that Kilgore was released on Mother’s Day.
Kilgore was one of five SLA members to serve time for the murder of Opsahl’s mother.
State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Oscar Hidalgo said parole agents processed Kilgore’s release at the Susanville prison.
Kilgore has been 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. He has two weeks to report to Illinois parole officials.
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.
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