Tag Archives: Terrorism

Lynette Squeaky Fromme Sentenced

Lynette Squeaky Fromme Sentenced

Lynette Squeaky Fromme Sentenced

Life Sentence

On November 26, 1975, a jury found Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme guilty of attempting to assassinate President Gerald Ford on the previous September 5. The judge sentenced her to life in prison.

Fromme was a follower of then jailed (now dead) Charles Manson, cult leader of the infamous Manson Family whose members had murdered Sharon Tate (8 months pregnant) and her friends: Folgers coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Hollywood hairstylist Jay Sebring at Roman Polanski’s home in Los Angeles, California on August 9, 1969 as well as killing Leno and Rosemary LaBiana, wealthy Los Angeles residents, the following day.

Lynette Squeaky Fromme Sentenced

Early life

Lynette Alice Fromme was born  in Santa Monica, California on October 22, 1948. In 1967, often an outsider whose didn’t fit into the traditional academic settings her parents wanted her to succeed in, she met Charles Manson in Venice, California. She joined his “family” and traveled with them.

Lynette Squeaky Fromme Sentenced


Back in California, the family lived as caretakers on the Spahn Ranch. The 80-year-old George Spahn nicknamed Fromme “Squeaky” because of the sound she made when he would touch her.

Fromme was not charged with involvement in the August 1969 murders. During the trial, Fromme and other family members “camped” outside the Los Angeles County courtroom where the Manson family trial occurred.

After a jury convicted Manson, authorities moved him from prison to prison, Fromme moved from town to town to be near him.

Lynette Squeaky Fromme Sentenced

Assassination attempt

Lynette Squeaky Fromme Sentenced

In 1972, Fromme moved to Sacramento, CA and it was there on September 5, 1975 that she aimed a loaded pistol an President Gerald Ford in Sacramento. Fromme was concerned about the cutting of redwood trees in California and felt that her actions would bring attention to that concern. The gun didn’t go off, and Secret Service agents wrestled Fromme to the ground.

Lynette Squeaky Fromme Sentenced


On December 23, 1987, Fromme escaped from the Federal Prison Camp, Ain Alderson, West Virginia. She hoped to meet the still-imprisoned Manson whom she heard was ill. Authorities captured her two days later and sent her to the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.

Lynette Squeaky Fromme Sentenced


Lynette Squeaky Fromme Sentenced

She was released on August 14, 2009 at the age of 60, after serving 34 years.

Under parole, Fromme moved to Marcy, NY to live with her boyfriend. Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara confirmed that, but officials would not release her exact address.

With the death of Manson, the surviving members of his cult briefly became newsworthy again.

Lynette Squeaky Fromme Sentenced


In August 2018, the Peasenhall Press published Reflexion. 

From the Manson Blog site: In nearly 500 pages Fromme vividly chronicles her life with Charles Manson from the time she met him in May of 1967 to the final arrest of the so-called “Manson Family” in Death Valley in October of 1969. From Venice Beach, to the redwoods around Mendocino, to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, to Topanga Canyon and the Spiral Staircase and Condemned Houses, to Dennis Wilson’s Sunset Drive mansion, to Spahn’s Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, and finally to the Myers and Barker Ranches in Goler Wash in the Mojave Desert — everything is here in Fromme’s reflexion on her extensive travels and experiences with Manson and the like people around them who were “preparing to survive either a revolution, or the static institutions that were systematically trading all of our vital necessities for money.”

Lynette Squeaky Fromme Sentenced

Hero Oliver Sipple Outed

Hero Oliver Sipple Outed

San Francisco, September 22, 1975

Sara Jane Moore

mugshot of Sara Jane Moore
Hero Oliver Sipple Outed

Two Michigan guys and a mom

Two Michigan guys, strangers to each other, got out of two different beds on September 22, 1975. Neither imagined that someone was about to intertwine their lives forever. That someone was Sara Jane Moore. She got up that morning intending to assassinate President Gerald Ford. Moore put on baggy tan pants and a neatly pressed blue raincoat.  The 45-year-old mother of four packed a chrome revolver.

Hero Oliver Sipple Outed

Oliver W Sipple

President Fort had addressed a conference at the St. Francis Hotel in downtown San Francisco. Outside was Oliver W Sipple, a 33-year-old ex-marine, twice-wounded in Vietnam. He  happened to be downtown that day and thought, “Why not stick around and see the President.” As the President left the hotel, Sipple was standing near Moore when he noticed her outstretched arm holding a revolver. Sipple yelled “The bitch has got a gun” and lunged at her. The bullet missed Ford and hit a cab driver who, fortunately, was only wounded.

With so much media around, a picture caught the moment: Sipple on the far left, Moore circled in red.

Hero Oliver Sipple Outed


President Ford sent a letter to Sipple. It said in part,

“I want you to know how much I appreciated your selfless actions last Monday…. The events were a shock to us all, but you acted quickly and without fear for your own safety.

“By doing so you helped to avert danger to me and to others in the crowd. You have my heartfelt appreciation.”

Hero Oliver Sipple Outed


Navy veteran Harvey Milk was openly gay and active in San Francisco politics, He saw Sipple’s bravery as an opportunity to demonstrate that a gay person could also be a hero. Milk contacted San Francisco journalist Herb Caen. A few day’s later, Caen wrote about Milk, Sipple, and Sipple being gay. The new component to Sipple’s life went national.

Being a gay ex-Marine who displayed bravery both in uniform and again as a civilian sadly changed the story’s arc. For many, it somehow tempered their view of that courage, even in San Francisco, a place more (but not completely) tolerant of gays.

On September 29, William Safire wrote in the New York Times, “Mr. Sipple is guilty of committing heroism in public, and is trying to hold on to the last shreds of the privacy that was stripped from him as a consequence of his selfless act. He is probably under family pressure to go one way, and under peer‐group pressure to go the other, with publicity stakes fairly high. He will think twice before he does any good deed again.”

Until his brave act, Sipple’s parents did not know of is sexual orientation. Finding out, his parents disowned him and later when Sipple’s mother died, Mr Sipple told his son he was not welcome to attend the funeral.

Keep in mind that on September 19th, just three days before the assassination attempt, a three‐member panel of Air Force officers took 4 hours 27 minutes  to conclude that T.Sgt. Leonard P. Matlovich, gay, was unfit for military service.

Hero Oliver Sipple Outed


Sipple sued the Chronicle for invasion of privacy. The Superior Court in San Francisco dismissed the suit. Sipple continued his legal battle. In May 1984 the California Supreme Court refused to reinstate his invasion-of-privacy suit. His lawyer said that Sipple would have been better off ”if he had let that woman shoot.”

Hero Oliver Sipple Outed


Oliver W. Sipple death is listed as February 2, 1989. That is the day authorities discovered his body. He had likely been dead for a few days. He was 47.

Papers reported that he had received treatment for schizophrenia, alcoholism and several other health problems. He weighed nearly 300 pounds when he died. His apartment was in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco, a mainly low rent district. By that time, Sipple’s days  consisted of getting up and going to a bar to drink.

On the wall of his apartment hung the framed letter from Ford.

President Ford, the man who pardoned the un-convicted President who’d broken laws as President, had never invited the man who saved his life to the White House. Some conjectured that that failure was due to Sipple’s sexual orientation. The President said his letter had been enough.



Sara Jane Moore pleaded guilty. At her sentencing to life in prison she stated “Am I sorry I tried? Yes and no. Yes, because it accomplished little except to throw away the rest of my life. And, no, I’m not sorry I tried, because at the time it seemed a correct expression of my anger.

Moore escaped from prison in 1979 for a few hours. She later said, “If I knew that I was going to be captured…I would have stopped at the local bar just to get a drink and a burger.”

On December 31, 2007, Moore, 77, was released from prison on parole after serving 32 years of her life sentence. When the media asked about her crime Moore stated, “I am very glad I did not succeed. I know now that I was wrong to try.

In May 2009, NBC’s Matt Lauer interviewed her on the “Today Show.” (NYT article)

Radiolab, an outstanding podcast, presented a program on Oliver Sipple on September 21, 2017. Here is the link to that podcast.

Hero Oliver Sipple Outed

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

September 18, 1975

May 17, 1974

Gun battle between SLA and LA SWAT

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

The 60s in the 70s

It is an easy error to draw a line in history between December 31, 1969 and January 1, 1970 as if that line actually meant something.

We talk abut the tumultuous 60s with its new music, its drug culture, the Baby Boomers growing up, the Vietnam War, and all the other cultural changes as if they were limited to that decade alone.

It is important to keep in mind that some Boomers had not yet turned 13 by 1970, that the new music of the 60s continued into the 70s, the same with drugs, and the American departure from Vietnam was not until April 29, 1975 with its helicopter evacuation from the roof of the American Embassy. And the deaths of Charles McMahon and Darwin Lee Judge the last two American soldiers to die in Vietnam.

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

Birth of an Army

The Symbionese Liberation Army’s story is a long one as is Patty Hearst’s role in it. This blog entry will simply give an overview of both. Donald DeFreeze is the person associated with the radical group’s start.

DeFreeze was a member of Black Cultural Association, a California prison group. It was an inmate self-help group which gradually became more political. Donald DeFreeze, serving a sentence for armed robbery, formed a splinter group, Unisight. Unisight became the basis for the S.L.A.

On March 5, 1973 he escaped from Soledad State Prison. Or, authorities turned a blind eye. That is where the SLA’s story begins: with controversy and conspiracy.

DeFreeze, or General Field Marshal Cinque as he renamed himself, had been a police informant from 1967 to 1969 for the Public Disorder Intelligence Unit of the Los Angeles Police Dept. Some suggest that the SLA was a front and that DeFreeze was an FBI informant.

In any case, four months after his escape a group of Berkeley-area activists announced the organization of a revolutionary group, the Symbionese Liberation Army. It hoped to spark a revolt in Black America. Their goals included closing prisons, ending monogamy, and destroying “all other institutions that have made and sustained capitalism.

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

Actions of an Army

On November 6, 1973: the SLA ambushed and murdered black Oakland school superintendent Marcus Foster and seriously wound his deputy, Robert Blackburn.

On February 4, 1974, the SLA kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst. She was a 19-year-old Berkeley student. Three SLA members forced their way into her apartment, beat her fiancé Steven Weed, and abducted her.

Eight days later the SLA delivered a recording to KPFA radio. On it, Hearst told her parents that she was okay. DeFreeze made a demand for food to be distributed to poor people in the area and throughout the country. Hearst’s father Randolph announced the creation of PIN, the People In Need group that would feed the poor with $2 million. DeFreeze demanded the amount be $6 million.

February 22, 1974 was the first day of food distribution. Poor organization resulted in a riot. for People in Need ends in riots. Randolph Hearst stated that $6 million was beyond his capabilities. His representative offered to pay $2 million upon the immediate release of his daughter and an additional $2 million in January 1975.

California governor Ronald Reagan had predicted that no one would take the food from PIN. He then accused the thousands of poor people who lined up “aiding and abetting lawlessness.”

Other PIN distributions occurred over the next month.

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

Hearst joins the SLA

On April 3, 59 days after the kidnapping, Patty Hearst denounced her family and claimed allegiance to the S.L.A. She took the guerrilla name “Tania.” Her family claimed she has been brainwashed.

On April 15 Hearst and four SLA members hold up the bank at gunpoint. They get away with $10,000. Hearst will later claim she was forced to do so.

On April 24 Patty states she fully participated in the bank robbery and at no time did her comrades have a gun pointed at her. She referred to her family as the “pig Hearsts” and to her fiance Steven Weed “an ageist, sexist pig.”

On May 16 authorities caught two SLA members, Emily and Bill Harris shoplifting in a sporting goods store. When a scuffle between the store clerk and Bill Harris began, Patty Hearst, who had been sitting alone in a Volkswagen, shot 27 .30-caliber bullets into the storefront before the trio made a getaway.

The next day the Los Angeles Police Department found S.L.A. members Donald DeFreeze, Willie Wolfe, Patricia Soltysik, Camilla Hall, Angela Atwood, and Nancy Ling Perry Compton The S.L.A. made use of its sizable arsenal in a televised gun battle with L.A.P.D. SWAT teams. Police set the house on fire with gas canisters. all six S.L.A. members died in the fire.

The Harrises and Hearst had watched the shootout from their hotel room near Disneyland.

On June 7 Hearst released a tape in which she continued to state her support and membership in the SLA.

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

Cross-country run

Emily and Bill Harris took over the leadership of the SLA after the shootout. Jack Scott, a writer hoping to do a book on the SLA, helped them find a hideout first in New York City and then in rural Jeffersonville, NY–only eight miles from the site of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969.

Hearst and company went undetected during their time there.  Locals assumed that they were simply summer residents.

From a 2010 Times Herald-Record article:

It was only after Hearst revealed that she stayed in Jeffersonville that lots of folks recalled seeing her. Jesse Abel, who ran the Jeff Pharmacy, says he saw her eating breakfast every morning at a booth in the diner part of his drug store.

Dick Herbert says he saw her getting a blue Corvair fixed at his Auto Sales shop.

And Jim Hammet of Jim’s Barber Shop remembers seeing Hearst and her pal, Wendy Yoshimura, walking around town.


Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

September 18, 1975

Hearst and company returned to California again with the help of Jack Scott.

In Carmichael, California, a botched bank robbery occurred–though Hearst was not with Kathleen Soliah,  James Kilgore, Emily Harris and Michael Bortin when there holdup occurred. A woman was killed and a pregnant woman kicked. [2001 SF Gate article]

The FBI finally succeeded when on n September 18, 1975 authorities arrested Patty Hearst, Bill and Emily Harris and Wendy Yoshimura in San Francisco. When asked for her occupation while being booked, Hearst saaid, “urban guerrilla.”

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

Convict Patty Hearst

On March 11, 1976 a jury found Patty Hearst, represented by well-known defense attorney F. Lee Bailey, guilty of armed bank robbery.

On September 24 a judge sentenced her to seven years in prison. She served 22 months before President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence.

Bill and Emily Harris pleaded guilty to kidnapping Patty Hearst. They served eight years in prison. It was the end of the S.L.A. and its short-lived, dangerous revolutionary dream.

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured


On  June 16, 1999 St Paul, Minnesota authorities arrested  Kathleen Ann Soliah.  Soliah, who had changed her name to  Sara Jane Olsen, had evaded authorities for more than 20 years. Patty had fingered Soliah in the Carmichael robbery.

In 1976, an LA grand jury had indicted Soliah for placing a bomb in a police vehicle. The bomb had not exploded. Soliah had gone on the run and eventually settled with her husband, a doctor, and three children in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she continued to advocate for various causes under the assumed name Sara Jane Olsen.

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured


On his last day in office, January 20, 2001, President Bill Clinton issued a presidential pardon to Patty Hearst

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured


In 2002, as part of a plea bargain, Sara Jane Olsen pleaded guilty to two counts of planting bombs and sentenced to five years and four months in jail. The Board of Prison Terms then changed her sentence to 14 years.

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured


In 2004, a judge threw out the adjusted 14-year term, saying the board “abused its discretion” in changing the sentence.

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured


California released Sara Jane Olsen from prison in March 2009.

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

Dog breeder

Patty Hearst’s dog, a Shih Tzu called Rocket, was a winner at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York. The show is America’s second-oldest sporting event after the Kentucky Derby.

Patty now prefers to be called Patricia and is Patricia Hearst-Shaw. Judges selected Rocket as the top toy dog at Madison Square Garden.

And on February 13, 2017 her dogs were a double winner at the Westminster Dog show in NYC when her French bulldogs won best of breed and best of opposite sex. The NY Times described the wins as “uncommon, bifenthe number of French bulldog entries.”

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

Donald “Cinque” DeFreeze

DeFreeze is buried in Highland Park Cemetery, Highland Hills, Ohio. Plot: Section 17, Marker 219.

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured

Kidnapped Patty Hearst Captured