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'70s radical-turned-housewife out of prison

  • Story Highlights
  • Sara Jane Olson, formerly of Symbionese Liberation Army, released from prison
  • Olson served time for roles in attempted bombing of police cars, shooting death
  • Olson spent more than two decades on the run, became a housewife
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(CNN) -- A 1970s radical who spent 24 years as a housewife while on the run from the law has been released from a women's prison in California.

Sara Jane Olson was sentenced to prison for her role in the attempted murder of two police officers.

Sara Jane Olson, a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, served about half her 12-year sentence.

She received concurrent sentences for two incidents in 1975 -- the attempted bombings of two LAPD squad cars and the shooting death of a customer during the robbery of a Sacramento-area bank.

Prosecutors said she was part of an SLA plot to murder Los Angeles police officers by planting bombs under their squad cars. One of the cars was parked outside a crowded Hollywood restaurant. The bombs did not go off and no one was hurt.

After authorities started looking for her, Olson fled California and lived for more than two decades as a fugitive before she was arrested in 1999 in Minnesota. She had married a physician, Fred Peterson, and was raising three daughters there.

Olson had also changed her name. She was formerly known as Kathleen Soliah.

Many residents rallied to Olson's cause and helped post bail for her. One group in California, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, has denounced her release.

"She needs to serve her full time in prison for these crimes and does not deserve time-off for working in prison," the group said.

"After participating in one killing and attempting two more, she managed to elude authorities and live a guilt-free, middle class life for decades. Criminals who attempt to murder police officers should not be able to escape justice simply because they have good lawyers."

Olson was released from prison Monday, said Bill Sessa, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections.

The SLA is best known for its 1974 kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst. E-mail to a friend

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