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Sara Jane Olson to serve parole in Minnesota

March 17, 2009 |  8:33 am

Soliah200 Sara Jane Olson, a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army who tried to assassinate Los Angeles police officers by placing pipe bombs under squad cars more than 30 years ago, was released on parole today, state corrections officials announced.

Olson, 62, was known as Kathleen Soliah during her SLA days. She was released shortly after midnight from Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, authorities said. She was released to the custody of two state parole agents,  who took her to a parole office in Madera County, where she was processed and was met by her husband, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton.

Her parole will be supervised in Minnesota, where she is planning to live near her family, though she is still under California authority and is subject to conditions of parole in both states, Thornton said.

Los Angeles police officials said they were "extremely disappointed" by the decision to let Olson leave California and criticized Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for not intervening in the matter.

“We believe the governor should have used his discretion in this matter to ensure Olson stay under the watch of California authorities as she finished out her sentence," said President Paul M. Weber of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents the LAPD's rank-and-file officers.

Olson was convicted in 1975 in Los Angeles County for attempting to kill two Los Angeles Police Department officers with pipe bombs.

"It was Los Angeles police officers she attempted to blow up,” Weber said. “She hasn't paid her full debt until she completes parole. Parole allows people to be released from prison earlier than their full sentence, under the theory that their re-integration into society will be monitored.

"If they violate any rules on parole," he continued, "they will be returned to prison. By returning to Minnesota, this gives her a free pass on the balance of time that she should serve.”

-- Andrew Blankstein and Ari B. Bloomekatz

Photo: Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times