Unabomber News History

Copyright 1995 The Chronicle Publishing Co.

The San Francisco Chronicle



LENGTH: 524 words

HEADLINE: TV Report Links Fugitive to Bombing FBI issues denial in UNABOM case

BYLINE: Bill Wallace, Chronicle Staff Writer


The UNABOM case has revived interest in a federal fugitive who was an alleged bomb maker for the Bay Area terrorist group that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst in 1974.

James Kilgore has been a fugitive since 1975, when he went underground as the government was preparing to accuse him of several bombings.

The first known UNABOM case occurred three years after Kilgore's disappearance, when a device exploded at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., injuring a security guard.

Since then, the UNABOM suspect has struck 15 times, killing three people and injuring 23. His latest bomb killed timber industry lobbyist Gilbert Murray in Sacramento on Monday.

Kilgore was identified as a possible suspect in the UNABOM case by television reporter Drew Griffin yesterday on Los Angeles TV station KCBS and on KCBS radio in San Francisco, an affiliated station.

Federal officials directly connected with the UNABOM investigation could not be reached for comment yesterday. Rick Smith, an FBI spokesman in San Francisco, denied that Kilgore was a suspect in the case and said he was merely being sought as a fugitive from charges in the earlier bombings.

''We don't give out information about ongoing investigations,'' Smith said.

Citing unnamed federal investigators, Griffin reported that Kilgore was being sought in connection with the UNABOM case in part because of similarities between the explosive devices used in a bombing attempt in August 1975.

In the report, former Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad member Larry Baggott, who defused the two bombs used in the 1975 attempt, said the devices closely resembled some of those used by the Unabomber because they were battery-powered, included wood in the triggering devices and were armed by gunpowder.

Griffin also noted the close resemblance between pictures of Kilgore taken in 1975 and the composite sketch the FBI has released of the man they believe to be the Unabomber.

Law enforcement sources say that Kilgore, the son of a California lumber executive, was a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, a radical group that kidnapped Hearst, killed Oakland School Superintendent Marcus Foster and committed a bloody bank robbery in Carmichael, Sacramento County.

Kilgore was indicted in 1976 at the age of 28 for possession of a pipe bomb -- a type of device used in the majority of the UNABOM cases. In addition to bombings in Los Angeles and Marin County, law enforcement officials believe he was involved in several other incidents, including one at the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, and another at a Hearst estate in Shasta County.

The fugitive's fingerprints were found on the license plate of a car used by SLA members in the Carmichael bank robbery. A bystander was killed during the heist, and Kilgore is still wanted for questioning in the case.

The Symbionese Liberation Army's core members were killed during a siege by Los Angeles police in 1975.

In other developments, FBI agents visited machine shops around the Bay Area yesterday, looking for clues to the identity of the UNABOM suspect.

GRAPHIC: PHOTO (2),(1-2) Federal fugitive James Kilgore (left) in a 1975 photo, and the FBI sketch of the Unabomber