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SLA fugitive pleads innocent to charges

Saturday, December 21, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO -- James Kilgore, a former Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive who was captured in South Africa after more than two decades underground, pleaded innocent Friday to explosives counts and other charges.

Kilgore, appearing for the first time in court after being extradited from South Africa, was part of the 1970s radical group that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst. He was charged with possession of a pipe bomb found in his Daly City apartment in 1976, and with obtaining a passport under a false name in 1994.

He was ordered held without bail.

If convicted, the 55-year-old Kilgore could get 10 years in prison for the bomb charge and five more for the passport offense.

He also faces murder charges in Sacramento County for an SLA bank robbery in 1975 in which a 42-year-old housewife was killed by a shotgun blast while depositing a church collection.

Four other SLA members pleaded guilty last month to the murder in a plea bargain in which they will get no more than eight years in prison each.

Kilgore's attorney, Louis Freeman, said state prosecutors have offered a similar deal to his client. State prosecutors would not confirm the offer Friday.

Federal prosecutors have not offered a deal on the federal charges, the lawyer said.

Kilgore was arrested Nov. 8 in South Africa and flown to San Francisco on Thursday. He had been working under an assumed name as an instructor at the University of Cape Town.


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