sara jane moore, failed ford assassin, released

sara jane moore, failed ford assassin, releasedfrom ap: Sara Jane Moore, who took a shot at President Ford in a 1975 assassination attempt, was released from prison Monday.

Moore, 77, had served about 30 years of a life sentence when she was released from the federal prison in Dublin, east of San Francisco, said Felicia Ponce, a spokeswoman with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Ponce did not know the details of Moore’s release.

Moore was 40 feet away from Ford outside a hotel in San Francisco when she fired a shot at him on Sept. 22, 1975. As she raised her .38-caliber revolver, Oliver Sipple, a disabled former Marine standing next to her, pushed up her arm as the gun went off, and the bullet flew over Ford’s head by several feet.

KCBS reporter George McManus, Sept. 22, 1975 Listen to KCBS reporter George McManus, Sept. 22, 1975

In recent interviews, Moore said she regretted her actions.

“I am very glad I did not succeed. I know now that I was wrong to try,” Moore said a year ago in an interview with KGO-TV.

Just 17 days before Moore’s attempt, Ford had survived the first attempt on his life in Sacramento by Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a follower of Charles Manson.

Moore said she was blinded by her radical political views at the time, convinced that the government had declared war on the left.

“I was functioning, I think, purely on adrenalin and not thinking clearly. I have often said that I had put blinders on and I was only listening to what I wanted to hear,” she told KGO.
Chronicle photographer Gary Fong captured Ford reaction Listen to Chronicle photographer Gary Fong captured Ford reaction

sara jane moore, failed ford assassin, releasedMoore’s confusing background – which included five failed marriages, name changes and involvement with political groups like the Symbionese Liberation Army – baffled the public and even her own defense attorney during her trial.

“I never got a satisfactory answer from her as to why she did it,” said retired federal public defender James F. Hewitt. “There was just bizarre stuff, and she would never tell anyone anything about her background.”

Moore was born Sara Jane Kahn in Charleston, W.Va. She acted in high school plays and dreamed of being a film actress before going through a series of marriages, beginning with nuptials to Marine sergeant Wallace Elvin Anderson in 1949…

In the 1970s, Moore began working for People in Need, a free food ransom arrangement established by millionaire Randy Hearst in return for his daughter Patty, who was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974. She soon became involved with radical leftists, ex-convicts and other members of San Francisco’s counterculture. At this time, Moore became an informant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Moore has said she fired at Ford because she thought she would be killed once it was disclosed that she was an FBI informant. The agency ended its relationship with her about four months before the shooting.

“I was going to go down anyway,” she said in a 1982 interview with the San Jose Mercury News. “And if I was going to go down, I was going to do it my way. If the government was going to kill me, I was going to make some kind of statement.”

Moore was sent to a West Virginia women’s prison in 1977. Two years later, she escaped, but was captured several hours later.

One response to “sara jane moore, failed ford assassin, released”

  1. gspieler Avatar

    Nice site, but some of your facts are wrong. It is possible this is secondary information, as it looks like some of the rehashed news that has never been fact-checked.

    When Sara Jane went to shoot Ford, she was using a gun she had just bought the same morning. The gun she owned and practiced with had been confiscated by the SFPD the day before.

    She dis get one shot off before Sipple grabbed her arem In fact, according to Richard Vitamanti, the lead FBI investigator on her hearing, testified that her first shot was only six inches from Ford’s head, and that was due to a faulty sight on the gun. Had she been using her own gun, she would have changed history. Fortunately for Ford and all of us, she missed. It was her second attempt that Sipple grabbed her arem before she could correct her error. Moore had been in the Women’s Armey Corp and was an expert marksman.

    You can read her court transcripts and find this information, and testimony from the Superior Court Judge, Samuel Conti.

    Also, Sara Jane was never a part of the SLA. That’s another false note. A lot of this misinformation is due to lousy reporting on the part of some of my former colleagues at the SF Chronicle. They did “arm chair” reporting and never doubdle checked their so-called facts. I know, because I talk to them still.

    Anyway, since you had this on your site, I thought I’d say hello and give you this info.

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