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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Racist, Black Liberation Army Terrorist-Murderer-You-Name-It-He’s-Done-It George Wright Captured in Portugal, After 41 Years on the Lam

 
AP: “This arrest photo taken Feb. 15, 1963 and provided by the New Jersey Department of Corrections swows [sic] George Wright while in custody for the 1962 murder of a gas station owner in Wall, N.J. Wright was arrested Sept. 26, 2011, by Portuguese authorities at the request of the U.S. government after more than 40 years as a fugitive, authorities said Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011. The FBI says Wright, who escaped the Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, N.J., in 1970, became affiliated with the Black Liberation Army and in 1972 he and his associates hijacked a Delta flight from Detroit to Miami. After releasing the passengers in exchange for a $1 million ransom, the hijackers forced the plane to fly to Boston, then on to Algeria.”
 

Longtime fugitive US hijacker caught in Portugal
by Samantha Henry
Associated Press/WFAA
Posted on September 27, 2011 at 3:18 PM

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A convicted killer who escaped a New Jersey prison in 1970 and hijacked a U.S. airliner two years later while dressed as a priest has been captured in Portugal after more than 40 years as a fugitive, authorities said Tuesday.

George Wright was arrested Monday by Portuguese authorities at the request of the U.S. government, the head of the FBI’s New Jersey office said.

Wright was convicted of the 1962 murder of a gas station owner in Wall, N.J. Authorities say Wright and three associates had already committed multiple armed robberies on Nov. 23, 1962, when Wright and another man shot and killed Walter Patterson, a decorated World War II veteran and father of two, during a robbery of the Collingswood Esso gas station in Wall.

He received a 15- to 30-year sentence and had served eight years when he and three other men escaped from the Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, N.J. on Aug. 19, 1970.

The FBI says Wright became affiliated with an underground militant group, the Black Liberation Army, and in 1972 he and his associates hijacked a Delta Air Lines flight from Detroit to Miami — and on to Algeria.

The group lived as a “communal family” together in Detroit before the hijacking, according to Associated Press reports at the time.

News reports at the time said Wright, then 29, dressed as a priest and used the alias the Rev. L. Burgess to board Delta Air Lines Flight 841 on July 31, 1972, accompanied by three men, two women and three small children.

When the plane landed at the Miami airport, the hijackers demanded a $1 million ransom — the highest of its kind at the time — to free the 86 people on board. After an FBI agent delivered the money, the passengers were released, according to AP accounts.

The hijackers then forced the plane to Boston, where an international navigator was taken aboard, and the group flew on to Algeria, where the hijackers sought asylum.

The group was taken in by Eldridge Cleaver, the American writer and activist, who had been permitted by Algeria’s Socialist government to open an office of the Black Panther Movement in that country in 1970, after the Algerian president at the time professed sympathy for what he viewed as worldwide liberation struggles.

Algerian officials returned the plane and the money to the U.S. at the request of the American government, and briefly detained the hijackers before letting them stay.

Coverage of the hijacker’s stay in Algeria said their movements were restricted and the president ignored their calls for asylum and requests to return them the ransom money.

Wright’s associates were eventually tracked down, arrested, tried and convicted in Paris in 1976.

Wright was the last remaining fugitive.

In addition to the FBI, a cadre of law enforcement agencies worked on tracking and apprehending Wright, including the U.S. Marshals Service, New Jersey’s Department of Corrections, the Monmouth County prosecutor’s office and authorities in Portugal.

“This case should ... serve notice that the FBI’s determination in pursuing subjects will not diminish over time or distance,” said Michael Ward, the agent in charge of the Newark division.

Associated Press Researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this article.

[Thanks to reader-researcher RC for this find.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The reports I've seen say it will take several months for Wright to be extradited. Despite being guilty of a brutal murder, Wright would likely have been released from prison after 15 years had he not escaped.

David In TN