She Was Convicted Of Gunning Down A New Jersey State Trooper In 1973
May 2, 2013 12:35 PM
NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The decades-old international case of a convicted cop killer is getting new attention in New Jersey.
It was 40 years ago today that New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster was shot and killed during a traffic stop along the New Jersey Turnpike.
Joanne Chesimard, 65, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Foerster. One of her accomplices was killed and another was convicted in Foerster’s death and remains in jail.
In 1979, members of the Black Liberation Army broke Chesimard out of prison and hid her underground before she was able to flee to Cuba where she has been living since mid-1984.
Chesimard, who is now known as Assata Shakur, attends government functions in Cuba and her standard of living is higher than most in the country, officials said.
Chilly relations between the countries have made Cuba a haven for fugitives, but the climate is changing. Just last month, a Florida couple who sailed to Cuba was returned to the U.S. and accused of kidnapping their two young children from the boys’ grandparents.
Joanne Chesimard (credit: FBI)
On Thursday, the FBI added Chesimard to their list of Most Wanted Terrorists.
Chesimard was an active and prominent member of the Black Panther Party and later the Black Liberation Army, which was described as one of the most violent militant organizations of 1970s, officials said.
She is the first woman ever to make the FBI’s list of top terrorists.
“Joanne Chesimard is a domestic terrorist who murdered a law enforcement officer execution-style,” said Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Newark Division. “Today, on the anniversary of Trooper Werner Foerster’s death, we want the public to know that we will not rest until this fugitive is brought to justice.”
Officials also doubled the reward, to $2 million, for the capture of Chesimard. The state is adding its own $1 million on top of the million dollars already offered by the FBI for her capture and return.
“Justice has no expiration date and our resolve to capture Joanne Chesimard does not diminish with the passage of time. Instead, it grows ever stronger with the knowledge that this killer continues to live free,” said Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa. “We honor Trooper Foerster, a true hero, by keeping the focus on this fugitive, and we hope that this augmented reward will spur action that will bring Chesimard back to face the justice she has evaded for far too long.”
Individuals with information concerning Chesimard are asked to contact the FBI’s tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
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