- The Washington Times - Friday, November 8, 2002

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Four former members of the Symbionese Liberation Army pleaded guilty to murder yesterday in the shotgun slaying of a bank customer during a 1975 holdup. Each will get six to eight years in prison.

SLA members William Harris, his ex-wife, Emily Montague, and Michael Bortin all agreed to the plea bargain, as did Sara Jane Olson, who is already serving 14 years behind bars for a 1975 attempt to blow up two Los Angeles police cars.

They were charged with first-degree murder but agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder in a deal with prosecutors to avoid a possible sentence of life in prison. All four appeared in Superior Court in Sacramento yesterday afternoon to enter their pleas.

The defendants were arrested last January in the slaying of Myrna Opsahl, a 42-year-old housewife who was gunned down while depositing her church collection at Crocker National Bank in suburban Sacramento.

A fifth person was charged in the bank robbery, 55-year-old James Kilgore, but he has been a fugitive since 1976.

All five belonged to the 1970s Marxist revolutionary group that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, who had been expected to be the government's chief witness at their trial, which had been set for next year. The guilty pleas essentially mirror her account of the robbery.

Montague, 55, will receive the longest term eight years reflecting prosecutors' assertion that she was the one who pulled the trigger.

Olson, 55, will receive a six-year sentence, as will Bortin, 57. Harris, 57, faces a seven-year sentence, unless he can persuade prosecutors and judge to lower it to six years.

All four defendants agreed to give up any rights to profit from their story.

Prosecutors cited new forensic evidence in finally bringing charges earlier this year in the 27-year-old case.

Sara Jane Olson an alias assumed by SLA member Kathleen Soliah was captured in 1999 in St. Paul, Minn., after more than two decades on the run. She was living as a doctor's wife, community theater actress and mother of three.

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