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Soliah Makes Bail

With the generosity of friends who never knew of her radical past, Kathleen Soliah posted one million dollars bail Tuesday. CBS News' John Blackstone reports.

The money came in donations large and small, from some 250 people who knew Soliah as Sara Jane Olson -- a wife, mother and local actress in St. Paul Minnesota.

"They want to see Sara Jane reunited with her family. They want to see her get a fair trial. They want to see her out of jail," said her attorney, Susan Jordan.

Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler accepted an electronic monitoring plan that will allow her to return to her home in St. Paul, Minn., while waiting to go on trial in Los Angeles.

But in Los Angeles, retired police Captain Mervin King remembers Kathleen Soliah as an armed and dangerous member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, a young woman determined to kill cops.

"Laying a bomb down, to me, is the most despicable crime a person can commit," says King.

King was the field commander when police battled SLA members in a Los Angeles neighborhood in 1974. After that gunfight, Soliah took the microphone at a rally in Berkeley and accused the police of savage and vicious murder.


Kathleen Soliah as a rebel.

The police claim she also sought revenge by planting bombs under police cars. The bombs didn't explode, but in a training film at the time the LAPD demonstrated the damage they could do.

"Had those bombs gone off, we would have had had some widows, we would have had some children that were orphans," King says.

Soliah's lawyers say she had nothing to do with the bombs, but in the atmosphere of the 1970's she was not willing to face judgment.

"She ran away at a time when she was afraid she wouldn't get a fair trial," says Jordan. "And I think that was a very real fear."

No matter what the evidence, a case can be difficult for prosecutors when almost a quarter century has passed. And the defense will undoubtedly urge a jury not to judge the young radical but to look instead at the woman who has become a respected member of her community.