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ABC7 Exclusive: Olson's family speaks out

March 24, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Former 1970s radical Sara Jane Olson is back at the central California prison where she spent six years before her short-lived release last week. Her family gave Eyewitness News an exclusive interview. Sara Jane Olson, 61, spent time with her family in Palmdale during her brief parole from the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla on March 17.

Click in the Eyewitness News story window above to watch Leo Stallworth's report, including an exclusive interview with a family member.

Her family is outraged that she has been ordered back to prison.

After Olson was released, police union members immediately complained that she didn't serve enough of her sentence. Corrections officials then announced that they had made a mistake and that she still had one more year to serve.

Sara Jane Olson's sister, Martha Conaway, spoke to Eyewitness News in an exclusive interview. She says that the family feels that Olson has not been fairly treated and wishes this was all over with.

"They have been messing with her since the very beginning. I do not know what is going on. It is an absolute mess and we wish it was all over," said Conaway.

Olson was released after serving half of what was originally calculated to be a 12-year sentence for taking part in the failed bombing of Los Angeles police cars in 1975 and her role as the getaway driver in a fatal bank holdup in Sacramento.

At the time she was a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army. The group is best known for kidnapping newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst.

Martha Conaway says that her sister was looking to reunite with loved ones in Minnesota, until she was intercepted at LAX Friday night.

"Well, she is very frustrated and very disappointed, but she is doing what she has to do. The only one I am concerned about is my mom. She has been dealing with this for 34 years, and she is 84 years old," said Conaway.

Olson's lawyer, Shawn Chapman Holley, said she might seek a hearing before the judge who first sentenced Olson to request an early release.

"We will take strong legal action because it is our feeling that she has been falsely arrested and now falsely imprisoned," said Holley.

Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton says the department's internal affairs division is probing how the mix-up occurred.

Sara Jane Olson will not be eligible for parole until March 17, 2009.

Eyewitness News reporters Leo Stallworth and John Gregory contributed to this report.

 

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