Flushed from city sub­urb af­ter 27 years on the run

Some key events from this week in his­tory are re­flected in the fol­low­ing re­ports taken from the ar­chives of the Ar­gus’s 160-year-old ti­tles

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL MOR­RIS

CAPE Town was agog on the af­ter­noon of Novem­ber 9, 2002 when news broke of the ar­rest in sub­ur­ban Clare­mont of the last fugi­tive mem­ber of the no­to­ri­ous Sym­bionese Lib­er­a­tion Army that ter­rorised the US in the 1970s.

James Wil­liam Kil­gore, who went by the name of Charles – and also John – Pape, had been on the run for 27 years.

The mild- man­nered and widely re­spected 55- year- old aca­demic – as he was known to friends and col­leagues at UCT and across south­ern Africa – had been part of the rad­i­cal group that com­mit­ted po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated crimes in the US, in­clud­ing a string of bank rob­beries and the kid­nap of news­pa­per heiress Patty Hearst in the 1970s.

To his neigh­bours in Clare­mont, Charles Wil­liam Pape was an am­i­ca­ble, re­served man who kept to him­self, played soc­cer and cricket with his two sons in the yard and held down a re­spectable job as a re­searcher at the Uni­ver­sity of Cape Town.

But “Charles Wil­liam Pape” did not ex­ist.

If the world, and Kil­gore, had moved on, US se­cu­rity agents had not given up their quest to find the fugi­tive.

Two months ear­lier, on an of­fi­cial in­ter­net site, the FBI called for pub­lic as­sis­tance in ap­pre­hend­ing Kil­gore for mur­der and the un­law­ful pos­ses­sion of an ex­plo­sive de­vice.

In a cau­tion­ary note, the FBI al­leged that Kil­gore had been in­volved with the Sym­bionese Lib­er­a­tion Army, which ab­ducted Hearst on Fe­bru­ary 4, 1974, in Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia, and robbed the Hiber­nia Bank in San Fran­cisco two months later.

It also al­leged that on Septem­ber 21, 1975, an un­reg­is­tered pipe bomb was found at Kil­gore’s home in San Fran­cisco.

On Jan­uary 15, 2002, Kil­gore (though still at large) was charged with the mur­der of Myrna Op­sahl, who was shot and killed dur­ing a rob­bery at the Crocker Na­tional Bank in Carmichael, Cal­i­for­nia, on April 21, 1975.

Days af­ter his ar­rest in Novem­ber, Kil­gore was ex­tra­dited to the US, was tried, and sent to prison in Cal­i­for­nia for sixand-a-half years. In this time, he wrote sev­eral nov­els, the first of which, We Are All Zim­bab­weans Now, was pub­lished a month af­ter his re­lease in 2009 by Umuzi Pub­lish­ers in Cape Town.

Kil­gore set­tled in Cham­paign-Ur­bana, Illi­nois, and has been teach­ing there at the Cen­ter for African Stud­ies. Two years ago, in 2015, he pub­lished a book that welled in large mea­sure from his im­pris­on­ment, Un­der­stand­ing Mass In­car­cer­a­tion: A Peo­ple’s Guide to the Key Civil Rights Strug­gle of Our Time.

Here is the story of 15 years ago about Kil­gore’s ar­rest in Cape Town. Novem­ber 9, 2002 Nabbed: Leader of US ter­ror gang cap­tured in city af­ter 27 years on the run

“JAMES Kil­gore, leader and last fugi­tive mem­ber of the no­to­ri­ous Sym­bionese Lib­er­a­tion Army that ter­rorised the United States in the 1970s, has been cap­tured in Clare­mont in Cape Town af­ter hav­ing been on the run for 27 years.

“Kil­gore, 55, was part of the rad­i­cal group that com­mit­ted po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated crimes in the US that in­cluded a string of bank rob­beries and the kid­nap of news­pa­per heiress Patty Hearst in the 1970s.

“Hearst later be­came a mem­ber of the move­ment and pho­to­graphs of her cradling a ma­chine gun dur­ing a bank rob­bery shocked the world.

“It was a pho­to­graph which per­son­i­fied a time of hi­jack­ings, bomb­ings and a plethora of young anti-es­tab­lish­ment ter­ror groups.

Hearst, who was jailed for her role in the move­ment, was par­doned by for­mer US pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton when he left of­fice last year.

“Kil­gore, who ar­rived in South Africa five years ago with false doc­u­ments un­der the alias Charles Pape, worked as a se­nior re­searcher at UCT.

His wife, Terri Barnes, is se­nior re­searcher at the Uni­ver­sity of the Western Cape and the cou­ple have two young sons.

“Kil­gore, who also used the alias John Pape, was a well-re­spected aca­demic and his work was pub­lished widely. Yes­ter­day his col­leagues said they were stunned by the in­for­ma­tion that Kil­gore was a wanted ter­ror­ist. They said he was a friend and mild-man­nered fam­ily man.

“But on Fri­day his new life, which he had built metic­u­lously over many years, came crash­ing down. At 7.15pm South African po­lice tracked him down to his Dun­luce Road home, end­ing his decades-long run from the law.

“His ar­rest took place a day af­ter four of his for­mer com­rades were sen­tenced to be­tween six to eight years for their roles in a cam­paign of ter­ror which in­volved nu­mer­ous bank rob­beries and the kid­nap­ping of Hearst.

“Po­lice spokes­woman Mary Martins-En­gel­brecht said Kil­gore, 55, had been on the run from the FBI for the past 27 years.

Kil­gore is wanted for mur­der, armed rob­bery and the il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of home­made bombs.

“Martins-En­gel­brecht said it was thought that Kil­gore had been in Zim­babwe be­fore he moved to South Africa. South African po­lice be­gan search­ing for him at In­ter­pol’s re­quest about three months ago.

“Martins-En­gel­brecht said he would not be re­turned to the US un­less Wash­ing­ton gave a for­mal un­der­tak­ing that he would not

face ex­e­cu­tion, which is out­lawed un­der South Africa’s post-apartheid con­sti­tu­tion.

“The most no­to­ri­ous of the Sym­bionese Lib­er­a­tion Army’s crimes was the kid­nap­ping of Hearst in 1974. The group brainwashed Hearst into join­ing them and she was con­victed of bank rob­bery com­mit­ted while part of the group.

“The Sym­bionese Lib­er­a­tion Army thought of their crimes as rev­o­lu­tion­ary jus­tice on be­half of racial mi­nori­ties in the US.

“Kil­gore’s for­mer part­ners in crime were con­victed this week of the shot­gun killing of Myrna Op­sahl, who was gunned down dur­ing the hold-up of a bank near Sacra­mento in 1975.

“Op­sahl’s hus­band, Trygve, said Kil­gore’s ar­rest was good news. ‘ When you’re deal­ing with a fugi­tive who’s over­seas, any­thing could hap­pen but I un­der­stood there was some­thing in the wind.’

“The FBI had of­fered a $20 000 re­ward, un­veiled a bust and re­leased com­puter- en­hanced pho­to­graphs of what a clean-shaven, grey-haired Kil­gore might look like now.

“He was fea­tured on tele­vi­sion’s Amer­ica’s Most Wanted and au­thor­i­ties have re­ceived more than 200 tip-offs about his where­abouts in the past two years – but there had not been a sin­gle con­firmed sight­ing of Kil­gore in more than two decades.

“Kil­gore is in cus­tody at Bel­lville po­lice sta­tion and will ap­pear in the Wyn­berg Mag­is­trate’s Court to­mor­row. Late yes­ter­day af­ter­noon his wife vis­ited him at the po­lice sta­tion.”

A day later, read­ers learnt from fur­ther re­port­ing that “James Kil­gore, like any other pris­oner in the po­lice cells, took de­liv­ery yes­ter­day of a ra­zor and a spare shirt. But in the shop­ping bags brought by his dis­traught wife were also a pile of books and a foolscap writ­ing pad. For the man be­hind bars… was one of Cape Town’s most re­spected labour aca­demics.”

Pape was co-di­rec­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Labour Re­source and In­for­ma­tion Group at UCT, is known as “an out­spo­ken cham­pion of the poor”.


Patty Hearst, a wife, mother and noted fund-raiser for char­ity, in Cal­i­for­nia a few years ago.

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