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Last SLA Inmate Cleared for Parole in Illinois

August 9, 2009


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The last imprisoned member of the 1970s-era Symbionese Liberation Army has been cleared to serve his parole in Illinois after his release next month from a California prison, corrections officials said Tuesday. James Kilgore, 61, is completing a six-year sentence at High Desert State Prison in Susanville for his role in the murder of Myrna Opsahl, a mother of four who was killed during a 1975 bank robbery in Carmichael, a Sacramento suburb.

California corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said Illinois authorities have agreed to supervise Kilgore for a year. Federal authorities have approved his transfer to Illinois, where he will be supervised as part of a federal term he completed after being convicted of charges related to his years with the SLA and fleeing the country. Another SLA fugitive, Sara Jane Olson, was released from prison last month and allowed to return to her home in St. Paul, Minn. The Symbionese Liberation Army was a band of radicals from mostly middle-class backgrounds that sought to foment revolution and overthrow the government. Best known for the 1974 kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, it claimed responsibility for assassinating Oakland Schools Superintendent Marcus Foster and was involved in a shootout with Los Angeles police officers that killed five SLA members.

He served his state prison term after completing a 4 1/2-year federal prison sentence for using a deceased baby’s birth certificate to obtain a passport and for possession of a pipe bomb that federal authorities said they found in his Daly City apartment in 1975. The Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution Tuesday opposing Kilgore’s out-of-state transfer. The Los Angeles Police Protective League and the National Association of Police Organizations, which objected to the transfer, lobbied California and Illinois officials to deny his request.

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