Posted by News Express | 4 May 2013 | 4,931 times
An aunt of rap icon Tupac Shakur has made history after she became the first woman to land on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists.
Cop killer Joanne Chesimard, 65 – who was also reportedly Tupac’s godmother – was convicted in 1977 of murdering a police officer, Trooper Werner Foerster, in New Jersey, US.
She was jailed but escaped in a dramatic break-out and later fled to Cuba.
The FBI have now doubled the reward for her capture, placing a $2 million bounty on her head.
Special agent Aaron Ford said: “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.”
Tupac Shakur was one of the most successful rappers in the 1990s, whose career was cut short when he died at the age of 25 in a Las Vegas shooting.
In May 2, 1973, cops stopped former Black Liberation Army member Chesimard and two others at the New Jersey turnpike, for a driving violation before a gunfight broke out.
Both police officer Werner Foerster and one of Chesimard’s passengers were killed in the shooting.
Chesimard was arrested soon afterwards and convicted four years later of first-degree murder, assault and battery of a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to kill, illegal possession of a weapon and armed robbery.
She was handed life behind bars and began her sentence at a maximum security prison in West Virginia.
But after being transferred to a New Jersey minimum security prison, she escaped in 1979 with the help of three people visiting her, holding security guards at gunpoint and forcing them to open the prison gates.
Chesimard – now known as Assata Shakur, whose brother was the stepfather of Tupac – hid in a safe house in New Jersey for years before being granted political asylum in Cuba in 1984.
During Chesimard’s trial and imprisonment, she was represented by the late civil rights attorney William Kunstler who claims she did not receive a fair trial and was the victim of racism and mistreatment.
Speaking two days ago, New Jersey State Police superintendent Rick Fuentes said: “To this day, from her safe haven in Cuba, she been given the pulpit to preach and profess, and flaunts her freedom in the face of this horrific crime.”
Chesimard is considered a “domestic terrorist” although she is said to pose no new threat.
•Story largely based on a Sun (UK) report.
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