Can Barack bring back Chesimard alive?

Werner Foerster

Werner Foerster

Before Pres. Obama starts trying to normalize relations with Cuba, there’s an outstanding matter here in New Jersey that authorities insist must be resolved first.

In May 1973, during a motor vehicle stop, Joanne Chesimard gunned down a New Jersey State trooper. She was sentenced to life in prison, but escaped and fled to Cuba, where she was granted political asylum.

Those of us with long memories (and there are many of us who do) want Chesimard extradited to the U.S. to face her just due before she dies.

Chesimard has reared her head now and then — at times, it seems, to thumb her nose at the United States — offering interviews to Newsday, among others, and writing books.

Then, four years ago, the State Police increased the American bounty on her once-Afro’d head to $1 million, the highest ever for a New Jersey fugitive (See: N.J. State Police Wanted Page).



“She is now 120 pounds of money,” declared N.J. State Police Supt. Colonel Rick Fuentes. Some say the bounty forced her to drop out of sight after living so openly that she listed her number in the phone book.

This week, New Jersey Sen. Sean Kean (R-Monmouth) sent a letter to the president, asking him to hold back on normalization talks until Cuba agrees to turn over Chesimard.

Click over to for more on the story & a copy of the letter.


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