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Radical Wanted in 1970 Bombing Attempt Caught

January 22, 1987|Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. — A founder of the radical Weather Underground who eluded police for 17 years was ordered held without bail Wednesday after his arrest by the FBI on Vietnam War-era charges that he tried to bomb an ROTC building.

Silas Trim Bissell, an heir to the founder of a carpet sweeper company and once described by the FBI as "extremely dangerous," was found living as Terence Peter Jackson in this western Oregon university community. He worked as a physical therapist at a hospital.

"I've avoided the cameras for a lot of years," Bissell said to a guard escorting him past a group of photographers outside the courtroom Wednesday.

U.S. Magistrate Michael Hogan ordered Bissell, 44, held without bail until a hearing Friday.

Prints Confirm Identity

The balding defendant refused to admit his identity in court. However, prosecutors told Hogan that fingerprints and Bissell's statement to arresting officers Tuesday night confirmed his identity.

If convicted, Bissell faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine on a charge of conspiracy to injure federal property, and 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on a charge of possession of an unregistered destructive device.

Bissell had been sought since 1970 for allegedly planting a bomb beneath the stairs of a U.S. Air Force ROTC building on the University of Washington campus in Seattle.

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