One of Ford’s Would-Be Assassins Is Paroled http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/01/us/01moore.html?ref=us By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD Published: January 1, 2008 LOS ANGELES — Sara Jane Moore, a 1970s radical who tried to assassinate President Gerald R. Ford more than 30 years ago, was released Monday on parole from a federal prison in Northern California. Associated Press Sara Jane Moore, on her way to court in December 1975. Ms. Moore, 77, who was serving a life sentence for trying to shoot Mr. Ford outside a San Francisco hotel in 1975, left the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, Calif., at 5:20 a.m. Monday, said a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington. Officials did not disclose where she might be staying or details on the terms of her parole. Ms. Moore, who had been involved with several leftist radical groups, including the Symbionese Liberation Army, later told interviewers that she regretted the attempt on Mr. Ford’s life. “I was functioning, I think, purely on adrenaline and not thinking clearly,” she said a year ago in an interview with KGO-TV in San Francisco. “I have often said that I had put blinders on and I was only listening to what I wanted to hear.” On Sept. 22, 1975, Ms. Moore stood among a crowd outside the St. Francis Hotel and was about 40 feet away from Mr. Ford as she aimed a .38-caliber pistol at him. But Oliver W. Sipple, a former marine who was standing next to her, knocked her arm upward as she fired, sending the bullet well over Mr. Ford’s head; it ricocheted off a building and slightly injured a person in the crowd. It came 17 days after Mr. Ford, visiting Sacramento, had survived another attempt on his life, this one by Lynette Fromme, known as Squeaky, a follower of Charles Manson who is now serving a life sentence in a federal prison hospital in Texas. Although sentenced to a life term and denied parole at least once before in the mid-1980s, Ms. Moore was given another chance at freedom under federal sentencing regulations that call for considering paroling prisoners after serving 30 years if they are not deemed a threat and have conducted themselves well. Ms. Moore did escape for four hours from a federal prison in 1979, but Tom Hutchison, a spokesman for the United States Parole Commission, said it appeared nothing in her recent record blocked her release. The commission held a hearing in November to clear her release, which coincided with the 30th anniversary of her federal incarceration, he said. Mr. Ford died on Dec. 26, 2006, at age 93. Ms. Moore’s motives and background — she reportedly had had five marriages and was known to reveal little even to her lawyers — have remained murky. A Secret Service study in 1999 of people who had tried or succeeded in assassinating public figures said Ms. Moore had “found herself caught in a swirl of turbulent social forces and causes” in a place and time fraught with tension among the police and left-leaning political radicals. She had been an informant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and believed she would ultimately be killed by radicals. “I was going to go down anyway,” she told The San Jose Mercury News in 1982. “If the government was going to kill me, I was going to make some kind of statement.” Mr. Sipple died in 1989.