Former Fugitive Silas Bissell Freed On Bond
SEATTLE (AP) _ Silas Trim Bissell, the Vietnam-era radical who eluded authorities for 17 years as he built a new life for himself in an Oregon college town, has been released on bond.
Bissell, accused of attempting to bomb an ROTC building in 1970, said he planned to return to Eugene, Ore., and resume his life as Terry Jackson, the name he has been known by there.
In an interview Thursday afternoon, shortly after he was released, Bissell said he’s eager to have his life return to normal.
″I very much love my life there and I want to get back to work,″ said Bissell, who until his arrest Jan. 20 lived a quiet life in Eugene as a physical therapist. He said he planned to have his name changed legally to Terry Jackson.
″It was always my plan that I would turn myself in at one time. There was always the possibility I might get caught,″ Bissell said. ″But I wanted to give myself the best possible life to return to.″
Bissell, 44, whose family founded the Bissell carpet cleaner company, was released from jail after King County Superior Court Judge John Darrah ordered him freed on $25,000 bail on a second-degree assault charge stemming from an alleged 1969 attack on a police officer during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration.
On Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate John Weinberg agreed to free Bissell on a $95,000 property bond on a federal bombing conspiracy count.
Several of Bissell’s friends in Eugene pledged their homes as collateral for the bonds.
A former member of the radical Weatherman, Bissell and his wife, Judith, fled after being charged with conspiring to damage federal property by placing a bomb at the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps building at the University of Washington on Jan. 18, 1970. The bomb never went off. The two were also charged with possessing an unregistered firearm.
Ms. Bissell was convicted on the charges in 1979, years after the two had separated, and served time in prison. Bissell said Thursday he didn’t know her whereabouts or even if she had obtained a divorce from him.
King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Al Matthews said that because of constitutional guarantees against double jeopardy, Bissell would not be tried on a state charge of attempted bombing if he is tried on that charge in federal court. The federal trial is scheduled for March 31.