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Quest For NJ Cop Killer In Cuba Continues Despite Castro's Death

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) - An official state funeral is scheduled Sunday for onetime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. But his death has not stopped efforts to extradite a woman from Havana back to New Jersey, where she's been convicted in the murder of a state trooper 43 years ago.

Joanne Chesimard fled to Cuba in 1984 after escaping from prison, where she was doing life for the killing of Trooper Werner Foerster. She remains on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list, and lives in Havana under the name Assata Shakur.

New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes says things will get no easier in returning Chesimard to this country given Castro's demise:

"His brother Raul, who runs the country right now, represents the same perspective," he tells KYW Newsradio. "There's always been a level of pessimism and frustration that's accompanied all the negotiations between the United States and the Castro regime."

Not just in this case, either. Four other convicted cop killers are living in Cuba.

Fuentes hopes President-elect Trump might succeed where President Obama has failed.

"It's our continued hope that the return of these fugitives is going to be a greater priority of the next administration as we continue to normalize relations with Cuba," he said.

One thing is clear, though. New Jersey won't give up until Chesimard is back in the U.S., and behind bars.

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