Assata Shakur Bounty Increased to $1 Million; Added to Terror
News — The Underground @ 6:19 pm
$1M reward for Chesimard gets bounty hunter’s
By WAYNE PARRY
The Associated Press
EWING, N.J. - Joanne Chesimard just got a whole
lot more attractive to Louis Faccone.
The Woodbridge man, who makes his living tracking
down wanted fugitives, was at a press conference Monday in which
the reward for Chesimard, the alleged killer of a New Jersey state
trooper, was upped to $1 million.
The move came on the 32nd anniversary of the slaying
of Trooper Werner Foerster during a traffic stop in Middlesex County.
Chesimard was convicted of the 1973 killing, but has been on the
lam since supporters broke her out of a state prison in 1979.
She has been living in Cuba under the protection
of Fidel Castro’s government for most of that time. Garden
State officials have failed to pressure Cuba to hand over Chesimard,
57, who goes by the name Assata Shakur.
“I’m going to jump on it,” said
Faccone, who most recently tracked down and hauled in John Forrest,
a fugitive ticket broker who stiffed customers for hundreds of thousands
of dollars before fleeing to Cancun, Mexico.
Faccone earned $100,000 for that capture last September
- one-tenth of what he stands to make by finding the Black Liberation
Army radical. He’s already making preparations. He says he
has a two-man team already in Mexico that could be deployed to Cuba
on short notice after receiving good information about where Chesimard
is located at a particular moment.
“My guys can get in there in the middle of
the night by boat from the Florida Keys,” he said. “If
we can get to within a 3-mile radius of where she is, I feel confident
we can get in, grab her, get on a boat and get her out.”
That’s exactly the sort of response State
Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes is hoping for with the higher
“Bounty hunters do this all the time,”
he said. “That’s their stock in trade.”
There’s one important catch, though: Chesimard
must be brought back alive. If she is killed in a capture attempt,
the reward dies with her.
“The goal is to bring a fully functional,
no-assembly-required fugitive back home to New Jersey so she can
finish out her term of imprisonment,” Fuentes said.
Foerster responded as backup when another trooper
had stopped Chesimard and two companions for a faulty tail light
on the New Jersey Turnpike in East Brunswick. Shots soon rang out
and Foerster was hit. As he lay on the ground, authorities said,
Chesimard took his gun and fatally shot him.
Her brother-in-law was killed in the gun battle
and another man was arrested. Clark Squire is serving a life sentence
in a Pennsylvania prison and was denied parole last August.
Although she had long been on the watch lists maintained
by federal agencies such as the FBI and the Bureau Immigration and
Customs Enforcement, Chesimard’s name was added Monday to
the FBI’s wanted list of domestic terrorism suspects.
“Anyone of the mind-set that would execute
a police officer once they were on the ground” is dangerous
enough to be considered a domestic terrorism threat, Fuentes said.
The money from the United States Justice Department
was personally approved by Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.
“It both sends and reinforces a strong message
that the passage of time does not diminish the intent and energy
of the State Police and FBI to bring this fugitive to justice and
to serve out her ordered term of imprisonment,” Fuentes said.