CAPE TOWN, South Africa – South Africa hopes to quickly extradite one of the FBI's most wanted criminals, a Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive wanted for a deadly 1975 bank robbery in California, police said Saturday.
James Kilgore, 55, a fugitive for 27 years, had been a member of the 1970s radical group best known for kidnapping newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst.
Police were told three months ago that Kilgore was hiding in South Africa. They eventually found him living under the alias Charles Pape in the wealthy Cape Town suburb of Claremont and working as a researcher at an institute affiliated with the University of Cape Town.
Police staked out Kilgore's house Friday and arrested him as he pulled up in his car, said Senior Superintendent Mike Barkhuizen, the investigating office in the case.
Kilgore surrendered peacefully and admitted his real identity to police, said U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Judy Moon. His identity had been confirmed using fingerprints from the FBI, Barkhuizen said.
"It's good news," said Dr. Trygve Opsahl, whose wife, Myrna, was depositing a church collection when she was killed by a shotgun blast during the 1975 holdup of the Crocker National Bank in suburban Sacramento, Calif.
Neighbors described Kilgore as a gray, balding, nondescript man, which apparently matches an age enhanced bust the FBI made of him in 2001.
"He was very, very quiet," said Bridget Jackson, who lived near him. "He did not appear to socialize at all."
The arrest came one day after four of Kilgore's former comrades pleaded guilty to Opsahl's murder.
Kilgore was listed on the FBI's most wanted list and by Saturday morning a series of three photographs of Kilgore on the FBI Web site had large red slashes marked "captured" running across them.
"We're happy that Mr. Kilgore can now be brought to trial in the United States ... after a speedy extradition," Moon said.
Kilgore was in good health Saturday, but was very nervous, Barkhuizen said.
Kilgore received an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara and worked as a cook and house painter during his radical years.
Now married with two children, Kilgore worked at the University of Cape Town as a senior researcher at the International Labor Resource and Information Group, which researched international and local labor issues.
The university confirmed it had employed a Charles William Pape on a contract basis since January 1998, and said it would comment further on the matter Monday.
Police believe Kilgore lived in Zimbabwe and then Johannesburg before moving to Cape Town.
Kilgore had become a fugitive in 1975 to escape charges of possession of explosives. He, like his four colleagues, was charged in January with Opsahl's murder.
During their SLA days, Kilgore was the longtime boyfriend of Sara Jane Olson, one of those who pleaded guilty Thursday. Olson changed her name from Kathleen Soliah and went underground after the robbery. She was captured in 1999 in St. Paul, Minn., where she had been living as a doctor's wife.
Kilgore, too, appeared to have lived quietly as he evaded authorities.
"He has led a seemingly model life, at least in the last two years," Moon said.
American law enforcement and defense attorneys had said Kilgore had been communicating with authorities, seeking a plea deal similar to those the other defendants received.
Barkhuizen said Kilgore had clearly violated South African immigration laws and local authorities hoped to have him extradited as soon as possible.
His wife, Theresa Anne Barns who was employed at the University of the Western Cape as a researcher had not been arrested.
"There are no grounds to believe she has committed any crime," Barkhuizen said. "She has a valid American passport."
Kilgore is due to appear in a Cape Town court Monday.
His lawyer Mike Evans declined to say whether he would oppose any attempt to extradite his client.
"He's been away 20-30 years. He wants to surrender," said Stuart Hanlon, an attorney for Emily Montague, one of the four former SLA members to plead guilty.
U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan said the deal the others made did not depend on Kilgore's surrender. He and Hanlon both said the four did not provide the information that led to Kilgore's arrest.
"The coincidence is terrible," Hanlon said.
Kilgore's modest home was locked up Saturday, and there was no sign of his wife or children.