Most Wanted Women: FBI's Female Felons: Photos
Joanne Chesimard has been on the run for 40 years, and has lived outside the United States for most of them.FBI
Forty years ago, Joanne Chesimard, now 65, participated in the execution-style slaying of New Jersey police trooper Werner Foerster. Though Chesimard was arrested, tried and sentenced for her crime, she escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba five years later.
Last week, the FBI placed a $2 million bounty on any information leading to the arrest of Chesimard, who now goes by Assata Shakur. In addition, for her association with the Black Panther Party and later the Black Liberation Army, described by the FBI as among the most dangerous militant organizations of their time, Chesimard is among the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Terrorists List, the first time a woman has made the list.
Chesimard may have achieved a new level of notoriety, but she isn't the first female criminal that has led the FBI on a long pursuit. Although she is the first to be on the FBI's terrorist list, out of the nearly 500 people to appear on the FBI's most wanted list, eight of them were women. Here are their stories.
Ruth Eisemann-Schier eluded authorities for 79 days.FBI
Ruth Eisemann-Schier was the first woman in history to appear on the FBI's most wanted list in 1968. Along with her then-boyfriend Gary Steven Krist, Eisemann-Schier kidnapped heiress Barbara Jane Mackle, and held her for ransom. Mackle's family paid a $500,000 ransom for her return. For the exchange, her kidnappers buried Mackle in the woods in a box a couple feet below the ground. Despite the fact that Mackle spent more than three days underground, she was rescued alive and unharmed.
Although authorities quickly caught up with Krist, Eisemann-Schier stayed on the run for 11 weeks before being apprehended by authorities. Eisemann-Schier was tried, convicted and sentenced to seven years in jail, four of which she served, and eventual deportation.
Marie Dean Arrington is in prison in Florida to this day.FBI
Shortly after Eisemann-Schier's place on the most wanted list was vacated, Marie Dean Arrington occupied her place.
After a public defender unsuccessfully defended two of Arrington's children on robbery charges, Arrington murdered the secretary of the lawyer in Leesburg, Fla. For her crime, Arrington was sentenced to death.
On March 1, 1969, Arrington escaped jail by cutting through a window screen and "either scaling over two barbed wire-topped fences or slipping under a double-locked gate," according to a report published by the Ocala Star six months after her breakout.
Two years after her escape, she was caught and had an additional 10 years added onto her sentence. At the same time, her death sentence was commuted after the Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment was unconstitutional in 1972.
Angela Davis remained politically active even after her arrest and later acquittal.FBI
Given Angela Davis' background as a scholar who studied at the Sorbonne, she would seem an unlikely fit for the most wanted list. But beyond her studies, Davis took a strong interest in political activism.
The Soledad brothers -- John W. Cluchette, Fleeta Drumgo and George Lester Jackson -- were three men in the prison of the same name. They stood accused of murdering a white guard.
Davis had purchased weapons used by Jackson's younger brother, Jonathan Jackson, for what would be an escape attempt gone wrong on Aug. 7, 1970, in which he took the judge and jurors hostage in a bid to negotiate freedom for the three. When the group attempted to escape the courtroom, a shoot-out ensued, leaving four people, including Jonathan and the judge, dead.
Although she maintained her innocence, asserting that Jonathan hid the weapons from her without her knowledge, Davis went on the run and was placed on the FBI's most wanted list on Aug. 18. When Davis was captured two months later, her trial brought international attention and pressure for her release.
Two years after her capture, Davis was acquitted at her trial for charges including criminal conspiracy, kidnapping and murder.
Bernardine Rae Dohrn turned herself into authorities in 1980 and served one year in prison for her activities with the Weather Underground.FBI
Like Davis, Bernardine Rae Dohrn had a history of academic achievement before appearing on the FBI's most wanted list. A graduate of the University of Chicago's school of law, Dohrn had been a leader among the Weather Underground, a radical group dedicated to the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.
Dohrn was designated a most wanted criminal in October 1970 and remained on the list for three years for her activities during the Days of Rage demonstrations, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage, dozens of injuries and nearly 300 arrest. Dohrn was removed from the list after charges in her case were dropped by a federal judge.
Susan Edith Saxe was a student of Brandeis University when she entered radical politics.FBI
Roommates Susan Edith Saxe and Katherine Ann Power might not look like the kind of people you'd expect to be involved in a plot to supply the Black Panthers with weapons and cash. But in 1970, the duo participated in a series of robberies to do just that.
Power, Saxe and three others robbed a National Guard armory in Newburyport, Mass., making off with weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and causing thousands of dollars in property damage. The arms were then used in a bank robbery three days later that resulted in the death of a police office.
Saxe (pictured here) was caught in Philadelphia in 1975 and served seven years for her crimes.
Katherine Ann Power had built a whole new life for herself before she decided to surrender to authorities in 1993.FBI
Although Saxe spent years on the run, Power managed to elude authorities for decades. She remained on the most wanted list until 1984, but still had not been caught.
After 23 years on the run, Power negotiated her surrender. Power had been living in Oregon, but returned to Massachusetts to serve out her sentence. After spending six years behind bars, Power was released from prison at 50, nearly 29 years after her crimes were originally committed.
Donna Jean Willmott was sentenced to three years in jail after spending nearly a decade on the run.FBI
For nine years, Donna Jean Willmott and her partner Claude Daniel Marks remained in hiding despite their notoriety as the first mixed-gender couple to appear on the FBI's most wanted list. The two had been part of a plot to bomb a maximum security prison in a elaborate attempt to lead an escape for an inmate who was the leader of Puerto Rican nationalist group known as the F.A.L.N.
For the operation, the two attempted to purchase explosives from an FBI informant, which forced their life on the lam. The duo was placed on the FBI's list two years later in 1987, and later captured in 1994.
Shauntay Henderson was the first woman to appear on the FBI's most wanted list in the 21st century.FBI
Before making an appearance on the FBI's most wanted list in 2007, Shauntay Henderson rose through the ranks of gangs in Kansas City. Although charged with one murder for the execution-style slaying of a Missouri man, Henderson was suspected of being tied to other shootings, including five other murders.
Henderson was apprehended within 24 hours of her appearance on the most wanted list, and was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, which led to a three-year prison sentence and probation. Months after her release in 2010, Henderson was arrested again for possessing an illegal firearm. After the subsequent arrest, Henderson was sentenced to 10 years in prison in May 2012.