U.S. to Extradite SLA Fugitive

Associated Press/November 10, 2002

Cape Town, South Africa -- U.S. prosecutors were preparing a request to have one of the FBI's most wanted criminals, a 27-year fugitive accused of a 1975 bank robbery and murder, extradited from South Africa, an official said Sunday.

James Kilgore, 55, a member of the radical group best known for kidnapping newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, was arrested Friday night in Cape Town.

The extradition request against the former Symbionese Liberation Army member would take three to eight weeks, said Brian Penn, a spokesman for the U.S. consulate in Cape Town.

"A lot depends on whether (Kilgore) contends the extradition request or not,'' he said.

Kilgore spent the weekend in jail and was to appear in court Monday. South African authorities have indicated they would favor his extradition. His lawyer, Mike Evans, declined to comment.

South African law bars extradition if there is a possibility the suspect could be executed. But U.S. officials said Kilgore was unlikely to face the death penalty.

Police were told three months ago that Kilgore was hiding in South Africa and eventually found him living under the alias Charles Pape in the wealthy Cape Town suburb of Claremont.

Kilgore, a fugitive on explosive possession charges since 1975, worked at the University of Cape Town since 1998 as a senior researcher.

His arrest came just one day after four of his former comrades pleaded guilty to the murder of Myrna Opsahl, who was depositing a church collection when she was killed by a shotgun blast during the 1975 holdup of the Crocker National Bank in suburban Sacramento, Calif.

Kilgore and his four colleagues were charged in January with Opsahl's murder.

American law enforcement and defense attorneys said Kilgore had been communicating with authorities, seeking a plea deal similar to those the other defendants received.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.