- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Just days after her release on parole, former 1970s radical and fugitive Sarah Olson was headed back to prison yesterday to serve at least one more year after what corrections officials called an “administrative error” resulted in her early release.

Chief Deputy Secretary Scott Kernan said criticism of Olson’s Monday release spurred a thorough review of her parole and a 2004 miscalculation was discovered that resulted in her release a year too early.

She will be returned to the same prison in Central California and will not be eligible for release until March 17, 2009, he said.

Olson’s attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, called her return to custody “ridiculous.”

“It’s like they make up all new rules when it comes to her,” the attorney said. “It’s like we are in some kind of fascist state.”

Olson, formerly known as Kathleen Soliah, spent six years in prison for trying to bomb Los Angeles police cars in the 1970s.

In 2001, she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 years in prison for attempting to bomb Los Angeles police cars in 1975 with the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), the urban guerrilla group best known for kidnapping newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst. Olson vanished soon after she was charged and reinvented herself as a Minnesota housewife.

Olson later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 1975 shooting death of a customer during a bank robbery in Carmichael, near Sacramento.

The SLA started in 1973 when a dozen white, college-educated young people from middle-class families adopted a seven-headed snake as their symbol and an ex-convict as their leader. Their slogan: “Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people.”

Besides kidnapping Miss Hearst, the group claimed responsibility for the murder of a school superintendent and was involved in an armed bank robbery and other violent activities.

Olson went into hiding for nearly a quarter of a century, changing her name, marrying a doctor and becoming a mother of three in St. Paul, Minn. She was arrested in 1999 after FBI agents acted on a tip from TV’s “America’s Most Wanted.”

The clerical error that resulted in her release came from a failure to properly factor the Sacramento sentence into her parole calculations, Mr. Kernan said.

“This is an extremely unusual situation,” the department’s General Counsel Alberto Roldan said.

Mr. Roldan said the long period between Olson’s crimes and her sentencing made the calculations especially difficult.

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