|Who is it?||Actress, Director, Soundtrack|
|Birth Day||January 16, 1947|
|Birth Place||Cincinnati, Ohio, United States|
|Age||73 YEARS OLD|
|Movement||Symbionese Liberation Army|
viciously attacked and murdered by 500 pigs in L.A. while the whole nation watched. Well, I believe that Gelina [Atwood] and her comrades fought until the last minutes, and though I would like to have her with me here right now, I know that she lived happy and she died happy. And in that sense, I'm so very proud of her. SLA soldiers - I know it is not necessary to say; but keep on fighting. I'm with you and we are with you!
When Atwood and other core members of the SLA were killed in 1974 during a standoff with police near Watts, Los Angeles, following their murder of the Oakland school superintendent, the Soliahs organized memorial rallies, including a rally in Berkeley's Willard Park (called Ho Chi Minh park by activists) where Soliah spoke in support of her friend Atwood, while being covertly filmed by the FBI. At that rally, Soliah said that her fellow SLA members had been:
On August 21, 1975, a bomb that came within 1/16 of an inch of detonating was discovered where a Los Angeles Police Department patrol car had been parked in front of an International House of Pancakes restaurant earlier in the day. After the bomb was discovered, all Los Angeles police were ordered to search under their cars, and another bomb was found in front of a police department about a mile away. Soliah was accused of planting the bombs in an attempt to avenge the SLA members who had died a year earlier in the standoff with LA police.
In February 1976, a grand jury indicted Soliah in the bombing case. Soliah went underground and became a fugitive for 23 years.
She moved to Minnesota, having assumed the alias Sara Jane Olson; the surname chosen being one of the most Common names in Minnesota due to the large number of people of Scandinavian-Americans descent. In 1980 she married the physician Gerald Frederick "Fred" Peterson, with whom she would have three daughters. Olson and Peterson went to Zimbabwe for a while, where Peterson worked for a British Medical missionary group. Then they settled in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where Olson resumed her acting career. She was active in Saint Paul on community issues. Her husband described the family as interested in progressive social causes.
On March 3, 1999, and again on May 15, 1999, Soliah was profiled on the America's Most Wanted television program. After a tip generated by the show, she was arrested on June 16, 1999. Soliah was then charged with conspiracy to commit murder, possession of explosives, explosion, and attempt to ignite an explosive with intent to murder.
On December 3, 2001, Fidler offered to let Olson testify under oath about her role in the case. She refused. He then wondered "I took those pleas twice ... were you lying to me then or are you lying to me now?"—and denied her request to withdraw her plea. Observers expected her to serve only three to five years, but on January 18, 2002, she was sentenced to two consecutive 10-years-to-life terms. Fidler warned that according to California law, the Board of Prison Terms could later change the sentence to a lesser term. Olson's lawyers asserted that due to discrepancies between 1970s laws and current California laws, their client would most likely serve only five years, which could turn into two years for good behavior. The Board of Prison Terms did later change the sentence.
On January 16, 2002, first-degree murder charges for the killing of Myrna Opsahl were filed against Olson and four other SLA members: Emily Harris, Bill Harris, Michael Bortin (Olson's brother-in law who had married her sister Josephine), and James Kilgore, who remained a fugitive. Judge Fidler arraigned Olson on the murder charges immediately following her sentencing hearing on January 18. Olson pleaded not guilty to that charge at the time, but on November 7, she changed her mind and pleaded guilty. She was sentenced on February 14, 2003, for the maximum term allowed under her plea bargain, which was a six-year term concurrent to the 14-year sentence she was already serving.
The state Board of Prison Terms had scrapped her original sentence in October 2002 in exchange for a longer 14-year sentence, saying Olson's crimes had the potential for great violence and targeted multiple victims. In July 2004, a judge said there was "no analysis" of how the state Board of Prison Terms had decided 14 years was appropriate, and threw it out. Her sentence was instead converted to five years, four months. However, an appeals court panel restored her full 14-year sentence as of April 12, 2007. It ruled that a lower court did not follow procedure when they allowed Olson to appeal.
On March 21, 2008, she was rearrested when it was decided that she had been mistakenly released a year early from prison due to a miscalculation by the parole board. Her attorney claimed that the action was a political move. Olson was taken back into custody by the California Department of Corrections and placed in the California Institution for Women in Corona for an additional year.
After serving a total of seven years, about half of her sentence, Olson was released from prison on March 17, 2009, to serve her parole in Minnesota. Police unions in both Minnesota and California protested the arrangement, stating that they believe her parole should be served in California, where her crimes were committed. In a letter to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor Tim Pawlenty also protested Olson being allowed to return to Minnesota.
Olson's 28-year-old daughter, Sophia Shorai, was a contestant in the 2011 season of the talent show American Idol.