By Mark Young
Hate crimes and domestic terrorism investigations came to my mind recently from two different sources— an arrest of a man accused of planting a bomb during a Martin Luther King Day celebration near my home and a recent airing of the television series Justified. That’s right—my mind works in strange ways. Just bear with me for a moment.
The first case involved a 36-years-old man recently arrested at his home and charged with planting a bomb along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane, Washington. Fortunately, the bomb failed to go off and an alert city worker informed the police before anyone was injured.
Earlier, I watched a segment of the Justified television series—the story of a U.S. Marshal disciplinarily sent back to his home state in Kentucky to work after killing a Miami fugitive in a justified shooting. One scene shows a heavily tattooed man in the bar talking to another parolee. The tattoos reminded me of some of the Aryan knuckleheads we investigated in our organized crime unit, gangs perpetuating domestic terrorism.
I thought about how hard some mystery writers work to conjure up criminally-bent characters for their novels, trying to create an outlaw that has some resemblance of reality. Writers: I want to make your job a little easier. I know you might use any number of sources to create your own conflict-bent antagonist, but I wondered if you have thought of one of the easiest sources.
A few years ago as an organized crime investigator, sine of the web sites I regularly visited were the FBI's most wanted lists—Ten Most Wanted, Most Wanted Terrorists, and Domestic Terrorism, to name just a few. International manhunts for terrorists—like Usama Bin Laden who orchestrated the 9/11 tragedy; or Ayman Al-Zawahir for his alleged part in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nariobi, Kenya—often overshadow our own national manhunts for homegrown domestic terrorists.
These domestic terrorists are great sources of information for character development and plot ideas. Each face posted on this list always seems to carry a fascinating story. I thought I pass on the lastest list of home-grown terrorists to help you conjure up some ideas for your next bad guy. Save a few brain cells and let the FBI create these scenarios for you. Just make sure you change the names and the specifics, unless you’re thinking of writing a non-fiction crime story like In Cold Blood Here is the current Domestic Terrorism list, compliments of the FBI:
JOANNE DEBORAH CHESIMARD
Act of Terrorism - Domestic Terrorism; Unlawful Flight to Avoid Confinement - Murder
REWARD: The FBI is offering a reward of up to $1,000,000 for information directly leading to the apprehension of Joanne Chesimard
Joanne Chesimard is wanted for escaping from prison in Clinton, New Jersey, while serving a life sentence for murder. On May 2, 1973, Chesimard, who was part of a revolutionary activist organization known as the Black Liberation Army, and two accomplices were stopped for a motor vehicle violation on the New Jersey Turnpike by two troopers with the New Jersey State Police. At the time, Chesimard was wanted for her involvement in several felonies, including bank robbery. Chesimard and her accomplices opened fire on the troopers, seemingly without provocation. One trooper was wounded and the other was shot and killed execution-style at point-blank range. Chesimard fled the scene, but was subsequently apprehended. One of her accomplices was killed in the shoot-out and the other was also apprehended and remains in jail.
In 1977, Chesimard was found guilty of first degree murder, assault and battery of a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to kill, illegal possession of a weapon, and armed robbery. She was sentenced to life in prison.
On November 2, 1979, Chesimard escaped from prison and lived underground before being located in Cuba in 1984. She is thought to currently still be living in Cuba.
Chesimard may be living in Cuba. She may wear her hair in a variety of styles and dress in African tribal
JUSTIN FRANCHI SOLONDZ
Conspiracy to Commit Arson; Arson of a Government Building; Arson of Property Used in Interstate Commerce; Use and Carrying of a Destructive Device During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence...
REWARD: The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Justin Franchi Solondz
Justin Franchi Solondz is wanted on multiple charges related to his alleged role in a domestic terrorism cell. On May 21, 2001, the University of Washington, Center for Urban Horticulture, in Seattle, Washington, was destroyed by fire during the early morning hours. At the same time, in Clatskanie, Oregon, several buildings and vehicles were also destroyed by fire. Fire investigators determined that both fires were the result of arson by use of timed improvised incendiary devices. Shortly thereafter, a communication was released stating that both fires were committed by members of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). The combined loss from these two arsons totaled over five million dollars.
On October 15, 2001, an arson and attempted animal release took place at the Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Corral in Susanville, California. Investigators found multiple improvised incendiary devices at the crime scene. This arson was claimed to have been committed by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). The damages from this arson were estimated to be eighty five thousand dollars.
On April 6, 2006, and May 17, 2006, federal grand juries in Sacramento, California, and Seattle, Washington (respectively) indicted Solondz on the following domestic terrorism related charges: Conspiracy to Commit Arson; Arson of a Government Building; Arson of Property Used in Interstate Commerce; Use and Carrying of a Destructive Device During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence; and Making Unregistered Destructive Devices.
Solondz may be traveling in Canada, Europe or Asia.
REBECCA J. RUBIN
Conspiracy to Commit Arson of United States Government Property And Of Property Used in Interstate Commerce; Conspiracy To Destroy An Energy Facility; Arson Of A Building; Attempted Arson Of A Building
REWARD: The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Rebecca J.
On January 19, 2006, a federal grand jury in Eugene, Oregon, indicted Rebecca J. Rubin on multiple charges related to her alleged role in a domestic terrorism cell. Rubin was charged with two conspiracy violations related to seventeen incidents and two counts of arson. These crimes occurred in Oregon and date back to 1997. Many of the crimes she is accused of participating in were claimed to be committed by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) or the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
Rubin may have returned to Canada in 2005. She may have light facial hair
JOSEPHINE SUNSHINE OVERAKER
Conspiracy to Commit Arson of United States Government Property and of Property Used in Interstate Commerce; Conspiracy to Commit Arson and Destruction of an Energy Facility; Attempted Arson of a Building; Arson…
REWARD: The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Josephine Sunshine Overaker.
On January 19, 2006, a federal grand jury in Eugene, Oregon, indicted Josephine Sunshine Overaker on multiple charges related to her alleged role in a domestic terrorism cell. Overaker was charged with two conspiracy violations related to seventeen incidents, five counts of arson, one count of attempted arson, and one count of destruction of an energy facility. These crimes occurred in Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, and Wyoming, and date back to 1996. Many of the crimes she is accused of participating in were claimed to be committed by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) or the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
Overaker is fluent in Spanish. She is known to use illegal narcotics. Overaker may have a light facial moustache. She was a vegan and may still be. Overaker is an American citizen.
ELIZABETH ANNA DUKE
Unlawful Possession of United States Identification; Conspiracy; Unlawful Storage of Explosives; Unlawful Possession of Firearms and Destructive Devices; Storage and Concealment of Stolen Explosives; Unlawful Possession of Five or More False Identification...
REWARD: The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading directly to the arrest and conviction of Elizabeth Anna Duke.
Elizabeth Anna Duke is wanted for her alleged involvement in a series of criminal activities during the late 1970's and early 1980's. She was allegedly a member of the radical group known as the May 19th Communist Organization which advocated communism and the violent overthrow of the United States Government. Duke was arrested in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in May of 1985 for her alleged participation in this group, but was released on bail. She later fled the jurisdiction and has been a fugitive since October of 1985. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Duke in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on November 13, 1986, charging her with the aforementioned federal charges.
Duke is known to speak fluent Spanish. She has ties to Texas and is known to travel in the northern United States.
JOSEPH MAHMOUD DIBEE
Conspiracy to Commit Arson of United States Government Property and of Property Used in Interstate Commerce; Conspiracy to Commit Arson and Destruction of an Energy Facility; Arson of a Building
REWARD: The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Joseph Mahmoud Dibee.
On January 19, 2006, a federal grand jury in Eugene, Oregon, indicted Joseph Mahmoud Dibee on multiple charges related to his alleged role in a domestic terrorism cell. Dibee was charged with two conspiracy violations related to seventeen incidents and one count of arson. These crimes occurred in Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, and Wyoming, and date back to 1996. Many of the crimes he is accused of participating in were claimed to be committed by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) or the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
Dibee may have fled to Syria
Bank Robbery; Aggravated Robbery; Conspiracy to Interfere With Commerce By Robbery; Theft From Interstate Shipment; Foreign and Interstate Transportation of Stolen Money
Norberto Gonzalez-Claudio is allegedly a member of a clandestine Puerto Rican terrorist group which has claimed responsibility for armed robberies and terrorist bombings. A federal arrest warrant was issued on August 23, 1985, in Hartford, Connecticut, charging Norberto Gonzalez-Claudio with obstruction of commerce by robbery and conspiracy. Another federal arrest warrant was issued on March 21, 1986, in New Haven, Connecticut, charging Gonzalez-Claudio with bank robbery, aggravated robbery, theft from interstate shipment, foreign and interstate transportation of stolen money, and conspiracy to interfere with co
LEO FREDERICK BURT
Sabotage; Destruction of Government Property; Conspiracy
REWARD: The FBI is offering a $150,000 for information leading to the arrest of Leo Frederick Burt.
Leo Frederick Burt is wanted for allegedly participating in the bombing of Sterling Hall, on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, on August 24, 1970. The blast from the explosion, combined with the fire, resulted in the death of a 33-year-old researcher. Additionally, there were several injuries reported and an estimated $6 million damage to the building and its contents. Reportedly, explosives had been placed in a stolen panel truck, located three blocks from the building, just several days before the blast. Also, a light-colored, late-model vehicle (Corvair) was seen leaving the vicinity of the bombing, and Burt was identified as being in the car.
On September 2, 1970, Leo Burt was indicted federally in Madison, Wisconsin. He was charged with sabotage, destruction of government property, and conspiracy.
RONALD STANLEY BRIDGEFORTH
Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution - Assault on a Police Officer
Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth is wanted for his alleged involvement in attacks on law enforcement officials in California, including the August 29, 1971, attack on San Francisco's Ingleside Police Station in which a Police Sergeant was shot and killed. Law enforcement investigation determined that this act of violence was committed by members of an extremist group known as the Black Liberation Army (BLA). The BLA had undertaken a series of attacks on police targets consisting of shootings, bombings, and attempted bombings beginning in the late 1960s and continuing through the 1970s. These attacks resulted in the deaths of several police officers around the nation.
Bridgeforth was alleged to be a member of the BLA and was detained on November 5, 1968, in South San Francisco after attempting to purchase merchandise with a stolen credit card. During questioning, Bridgeforth pulled out a revolver and fled the area. A pursuit ensued, followed by a gun battle in which Bridgeforth was wounded. He was taken into custody and charged with attempt to kill a public official and assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon. He pled guilty to these charges and was ordered to appear in court for sentencing on April 11, 1969. Bridgeforth failed to appear for sentencing and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. A federal arrest warrant was issued in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco, California, on June 18, 2004, charging Bridgeforth with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Additionally, on January 18, 2007, California state arrest warrants were issued for Bridgeforth charging him with murder and conspiracy to murder police officers based on the multiple attacks/murders and bank robberies committed by the BLA, and in connection with the 1971 attack on the Ingleside Police Station allegedly committed by Bridgeforth and other members of the BLA.
Bridgeforth may be traveling with his common-law wife, Julie Ann Small, who is not a fugitive from the law. Bridgeforth is balding and wore eyeglasses or contact lenses. He has been known to travel internationally, including Algeria, Guinea, Morocco, Ghana, Tanzania, France, Belize, and Zimbabwe.
See what I mean. Now—go forth and write a great novel.