SLA: James Kilgore
By Patrick Mondout
James Kilgore was a member of the early-Super70s American terrorist
group the Symbionese Liberation Army. He was the
last SLA member to elude justice after emigrating to South Africa on a
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.
James William Kilgore was sentenced in 2003 to 48 months in federal
prison for a 1975 bomb offense as well as a consecutive six months in
federal prison for passport fraud connected to multiple fraudulent
passports obtained by the defendant using the identity of a deceased
Kilgore had been a fugitive for 26 years when he was apprehended in
South Africa in November 2002. He was arrested based on a 1976
federal Indictment in San Francisco for possession of an illegal explosive
device. After being transported to the Northern District of
California in late December 2002, Mr. Kilgore pled guilty in 2003 to
separate bomb and passport charges. In addition, on May 13, 2003, Mr.
Kilgore pled guilty to second-degree murder in Sacramento County Superior
Court for the shooting death of Myrna Opsah
in an April
1975 bank robbery in Carmichael, California.
Kilgore participated in two SLA bank robberies and a SLA bombing
campaign directed against police officers in the San Francisco Bay Area
and Los Angeles, California. He became a fugitive after the arrest
of fellow SLA members Emily and
William Harris, Steven Soliah, Wendy
Yoshimura, and Patricia Hearst on
September 18, 1975. Three days later, a mover hired by James Kilgore
to move his possessions from his Daly City apartment, found a pipe bomb or
improvised explosive device (IED) and a pistol in a basket in the front
hall closet, and daily notified the police. Kilgore's fingerprints were
found on the explosive device and on bomb manuals found in the apartment
of fellow bomb maker Kathleen Soliah,
now known as Sara Jane Olsen.
Forensic sculptor Frank Bender provided an age-enhanced bust of Kilgore
to the "America's Most Wanted" television program.
Mr. Kilgore and Ms. Soliah fled to the Milwaukee and Minnesota-St. Paul
areas where Mr. Kilgore first obtained a false United States passport in
the name of Charles William Paper, who was in fact a deceased 10-month old
Note: Portions are from the FBI press
release on the prosecution of James Kilgore.
- Shana Alexander, Anyone's
Daughter: The Times and Trials of Patricia Hearst,
- Carolyn Anspacher & the San Francisco Chronicle, The
Trial of Patty Hearst, Great Fidelity Press, 1976.
- Marilyn Baker, Exclusive!:
the inside story of Patricia Hearst and the SLA, Macmillan
- Mary F. Beal, Safe
House: A Casebook Study of Revolutionary Feminism in the 1970's,
Northwest Matrix, 1976.
- Jerry Belcher & Don West, Patty/Tania,
Pyramid Books, 1975
- David Boulton, The
Making Of Tania Hearst, Bergenfield, N.J., U.S.A.: New American
- John Bryan, This
Soldier Still At War, (on Joe Remiro) Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
- Patty Hearst with Alvin Moscow, Patty
Hearst: Her Own Story, New York: Avon, 1982. This was the title
after the movie came out. Original title: Every Secret Thing.
- Sharon D. Hendry, Soliah:
The Sara Jane Olson Story, Cable Publishing, 2002.
- Janey Jimenez (U.S. Marshal who escorted Hearst between prison and the
court during the trial) with Ted Berkman, My
Prisoner, Sheed Andrews and McMeel, 1977.
- Jean Brown Kinney, An
American journey: The short life of Willy Wolfe, Simon and Schuster,
- Vin McLellan, Paul Avery, The
voices of guns: The definitive and dramatic story of the twenty-two-month
career of the Symbionese Liberation Army, one of the most bizarre chapters
in the history of the American Left, Putnam, 1977.
- John Pascal, The
Strange Case of Patty Hearst, New American Library, 1974.
- Findley & Craven Payne, Life
and Death of the SLA, Ballantine, 1976.
- Robert Brainard Pearsall, Symbionese
Liberation Army: Documents and Communications, Rodopi, 1974
- Fred Soltysik, In
Search of a Sister 1976.
- Steven Weed, with Scott Swanton. My
Search for Patty Hearst, New York: Warner, 1976. Weed was Hearst's
boyfriend at the time of the kidnapping. That was the end of their
- Video: Patty
Hearst, based on Every Secret Thing, directed by Paul
- Video: The Ordeal of Patty Hearst (1979) (TV)
- Video: Patty Hearst: The E! True Hollywood Story (2000) (TV)
- Video: Neverland:
The Rise and Fall of the Symbionese Liberation Army aka Guerrilla:
The Taking of Patty Hearst, Directed by Robert Stone, 2004,