this day in crime history: june 16, 1999

On this date in 1999, middle class St. Paul, MN mom Sara Jane Olson was arrested after being profiled on America’s Most Wanted. As it turns out, the socially active mother of three had a secret identity. In a prior life, she was Kathleen Ann Soliah, a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army terrorist group.

Soliah had been in hiding since 1976, when she was indicted for her role in planting pipe bombs that were targeted at police officers in Los Angeles.

Olson eventually pleaded guilty to the explosives charges and to her role in a robbery that resulted in the death of a woman. She was sentenced to 14 years in prison, but her sentence was eventually reduced by a judge.

In 2008, Olson was erroneously released from prison due to a miscalculation by prison officials. She was rearrested and returned to prison. She was paroled in March of 2009 and was allowed to return to Minnesota to serve out her sentence.

Further reading:

truTV – Hearst, Soliah, and the SLA

Wikipedia – Sara Jane Olson

4 thoughts on “this day in crime history: june 16, 1999

  1. John D.:
    KInda sounds like this could have been a few eps on that FX show THE AMERICANS.
    (even if she wasn’t “Russian”)

    Good find.
    Roll safe.


    • I have a feeling that in a post-9/11 world, it would have been a lot tougher to pull that off. On top of the paper trails, pretty soon we’ll have facial recognition software combined with the ubiquitous surveillance cameras making it even harder.


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