Ex-SLA Member Sara Jane Olson's Prison Term Extended

"Former Symbionese Liberation Army member Sara Jane Olson must serve an additional five or more years in state prison for her role in a 1975 conspiracy to blow up Los Angeles police cars, the state's Board of Prison Terms ruled today. The three-member board cited the potential for great violence and harm, multiple intended victims, a sophisticated professionalism and her later flight in its decision following a one-hour hearing."

The prison board changed the amount of time Olson must serve on her sentence from 5 years and 4 months sentence to whatever is appropriate under post-1977 guidelines for a 14 year sentence. Under the best case scenario, Olson could be released after doing somewhere between 7 and 9 years. But she still faces a first degree murder trial along with other ex-SLA members due to the killing of a bank customer during an SLA bank robbery in suburban Sacramento in 1975. The preliminary hearing in the murder case is set for November.

Olson pleaded guilty to helping other SLA members plant bombs beneath police cars at a Los Angeles International House of Pancakes in August 1975. The bombs did not explode. The key witness against her at trial would have been former SLA kidnapee-turned-member Patty Hearst.

In making its ruling, the prison board applied "a little-used section of state law, allowing it to recalculate sentences for old crimes considering new post-1977 sentencing guidelines. The law provides authority to hold "serious offender" hearings and issue new sentences to "protect the public from repetition of extraordinary crimes of violence."

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