Kathleen “Sarah Jane Olson” Soliah, convicted Symbionese Liberation Army terrorist and former Highland Park DFL stalwart and cause celebre, has been released on parole:
Kathleen Soliah, a former member of the radical Symbionese Liberation Army, was released on parole this week from a California women’s prison after serving about six years behind bars for her role in a plot to kill Los Angeles police officers by blowing up their patrol cars.
The white-haired convict, who has changed her name to Sara Jane Olson, had been sentenced to 12 years in prison. Like most California inmates, Soliah earned credit against her sentence for working while in prison. She served on a maintenance crew that swept and cleaned the main yard of the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, prison officials said.
The 61-year-old Soliah, who was released Monday, must now serve a three-year parole, although prison officials declined to provide the conditions of her release.
In the Soliah camp, there’s never been any doubt as to who the real victim was. And it’s not Myrna Opsahl:
Soliah’s attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, said, “We’re thrilled she’s out and can return to her family. For someone who was not a danger or a threat to society, it was six years too long.”
Saner heads prevailed, at trial and today:
Los Angeles police see Soliah in far harsher light.
She “attempted to murder LAPD officers by bombing two police cars,” said Tim Sands, president of the Police Protective League, which represents the city’s 9,300 rank-and-file officers. “She needs to serve her full time in prison for these crimes and does not deserve time off for working in prison. Criminals who attempt to murder police officers should not be able to escape justice simply because they have good lawyers.”…Soliah pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing a destructive device with the intent to murder and also struck a deal in a separate case, in which she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for participating in a Sacramento bank robbery where another SLA member killed [customer Myrna Opsahl]. For the murder conviction, she received a one-year sentence. For the botched bombings, Soliah initially was sentenced to five years and four months, but that term was extended to 12 years by a state prison board after the board designated her a serious offender.
I filled in Myrna Opsahl‘s name. The media has troubling tendency to leave here as an anonymous statistic; she was, in fact, a 42 year old mother of four. Indeed, everyone involved, including Soliah’s family, seem to refuse to grant Myrna Opsahl the dignity of having ever existed, much less accept responsibility for her murder.
Last June, Tara McKelvey interviewed Soliah’s husband and daughter, Fred and Emily Peterson. Nary a word of responsibility, of wonder about the life of the woman whose life Soliah helped bring to a gruesome, horrible end, of acknowledgement that Soliah was facing justice (and a fairly benign version of justice at that) for having done something wrong – the evil of destroying one life and family, and actively conniving to destroy more. No – since she’d been a “good person” since her years of bomb-making and bank-robbing and wanton gunfire, they, and their supporters, thought it was all an even trade.
Fred Peterson tried to turn it into a David Lynch screenplay:
“You know, The Fugitive Becomes a Soccer Mom. They’re all stereotypical images of deceit. None of that applies when you’re just living a life and raising kids. People would say to me, ‘How could you accommodate such a depraved criminal mind? How can you live with the knowledge of what happened in the past?’ It captures the American psychodrama. But it was not real.”
I’ll bet the family of Myrna Opsahl begs to differ.
(Via Ed at Hot Air)