Press Release

For Immediate Release
November 8, 2002

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller today announced the arrest of James William Kilgore in Cape Town, South Africa, where he was taken into custody by the South African Police Services without incident. Kilgore is the final member of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) who has been sought as a fugitive from justice by law enforcement authorities for nearly 27 years.

The SLA was a group of individuals which advocated the violent overthrow of the U.S. Government during the 1970s. The SLA is most noted for the 1973 murder of Marcus Foster, Superintendent of Oakland Schools in Oakland, Calif., and the 1974 kidnapping of media heiress Patricia Hearst in Berkeley, Calif. The SLA was also responsible for numerous bank robberies and bombings.

In August, 1976, Kilgore was charged by federal indictment with Possession of an Unregistered Explosive Device (26 United States Code, Section 5861(d)). The device had been found among possessions being moved from an SLA safehouse in Daly City, Calif.

Kilgore has also been charged with the 1975 murder of bank customer Myrna Opsahl during an armed robbery in Carmichael, Calif. Four former SLA members pleaded guilty in the murder case yesterday.

Kilgore was born in Portland, Ore., but grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was an honors graduate from San Rafael High School in California. In 1969, he graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a degree in Economics.

Kilgore disappeared on or about September 18, 1975, after the FBI arrested SLA members Patricia Hearst, Wendy Yoshimura, William and Emily Harris and Steven Soliah in San Francisco. He disappeared at the same time as SLA member Kathleen Soliah, now known as Sara Jane Olson.

Investigators believe that Kilgore has been living in Cape Town under the assumed name of Charles William Pape since at least the early 1990s. He has been working at the University of Cape Town teaching English.

Over the nearly 27 years that Kilgore has been sought, all 56 FBI field offices, FBI Legal Attache offices overseas, and many other law enforcement agencies have participated in the investigation.

Attorney General Ashcroft and Director Mueller commend the South African Police Services, Interpol, the State Department, the United States Customs Service, the San Francisco Field Office of the FBI, and the FBI Legal Attache in Pretoria, South Africa, for their outstanding efforts which led to the arrest of Kilgore.

Special appreciation is extended to forensic sculptor Frank Bender who provided an age-enhanced bust of Kilgore to the "America's Most Wanted" television program. This program, along with other media outlets, aired several stories on Kilgore over the last few years and many investigative leads resulted from their assistance.

Title 26, United States Code, Section 5871, referring to Section 5861(d), carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and/or a $10,000.00 fine. However, should Kilgore be convicted of the charges as alleged, any sentence upon conviction would be subject to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take a number of factors into account and are subject to the Court's discretion.

Kilgore will be afforded an initial appearance in Federal District Court in San Francisco after his return from South Africa.

Note: Media inquiries regarding Kilgore may be addressed to Special Agent Nancy Duncan, FBI San Francisco, at 415/553-7400, or Matthew Jacobs, Assistant United States Attorney, at 415/436-7200.

 

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