Chesimard named to FBI 'Most Wanted Terrorist' list

May 2, 2013 at 4:01 PM
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NEWARK, N.J., May 2 (UPI) -- A woman convicted in the 1973 slaying of a New Jersey state trooper has been named to the FBI's "Most Wanted Terrorists" list.

Joanne Chesimard, who now goes by the name Assata Shakur, is the first woman ever to make the list, the FBI and the New Jersey State Police said Thursday.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the apprehension of Chesimard, who is believed to be living in Cuba under political asylum. New Jersey is offering an additional $1 million award.

"Joanne Chesimard is a domestic terrorist who murdered a law enforcement officer execution-style," said Aaron Ford, special agent in charge of our Newark Division. "Today, on the anniversary of Trooper Werner Foerster's death, we want the public to know that we will not rest until this fugitive is brought to justice."

Chesimard and a pair of accomplices were stopped on May 2, 1973, by two troopers for a motor vehicle violation on the New Jersey Turnpike, the FBI said in a statement. At the time, Chesimard -- a member of the Black Liberation Army -- was wanted for her alleged involvement in several felonies, including bank robbery.

Chesimard and her accomplices opened fire on the troopers, the FBI statement said. One officer was wounded and Foerster was shot and killed at point-blank range. One of Chesimard's accomplices was killed in the shootout and the other was arrested and remains in jail.

Chesimard was found guilty in 1977 of first-degree murder, armed robbery, and other crimes and was sentenced to life in prison. Officials said she escaped from prison in 1979 and lived underground before surfacing in Cuba in 1984.

New Jersey State Police Lt. Mike Rinaldi, a member of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark, said the crime was always considered an act of domestic terrorism, describing the Black Liberation Army as a "radical left wing terror group that felt justified killing law enforcement officers."

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