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Katherine Ann Power

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Katherine Ann Power
(Alice Louise Metzinger)
Photo used by the FBI
FBI fugitive photo
FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive
ChargesArmed robbery
AliasAlice Louise Metzinger
Born (1949-01-25) January 25, 1949 (age 71)
Denver, Colorado
ParentsWinfield and Marjorie Power
SpouseRon Duncan (deceased)
ChildrenOne son (Jaime)
Penalty8–12 years imprisonment
14 years probation
AddedOctober 17, 1970
RemovedJune 15, 1984
Removed from Top Ten Fugitive List

Katherine Ann Power (born January 25, 1949) is an American ex-convict and long-time fugitive, who, along with her fellow student and accomplice Susan Edith Saxe, was placed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1970. The two participated in robberies at a Massachusetts National Guard armory and a bank in Brighton, Massachusetts where Boston police officer Walter Schroeder was shot and killed. Power remained at large for 23 years.

A native of Colorado, Power turned herself over to authorities in 1993 after starting a new life in Oregon. She pleaded guilty and was imprisoned in Massachusetts for six years before being released on 14 years' probation. While in prison, Power completed her bachelor's degree, and after her release, earned a master's degree at Oregon State University. She resides in the Boston area.

Early life[edit]

Katherine Power grew up as the third of seven children in Denver, Colorado.[1] Her parents, Winfield and Marjorie, raised their Irish Catholic middle-class family on Winfield's salary as a bank credit manager and Marjorie's income as a registered nurse.[1][2][3] She became a Girl Scout[4] and won a scholarship to Marycrest Girls High School, a Catholic school in Colorado. While in high school, she won a Betty Crocker cooking award, wrote a regular column for the Denver Post, graduated as valedictorian[1] and received a full scholarship to Brandeis University, a liberal arts school in Waltham, Massachusetts.[5]

In 1967, Power enrolled at Brandeis[1] as a sociology major and honor student at a time of anti-Vietnam War protests at the school. She became known for wandering the campus braless and barefoot in an orange-colored smock,[6] for her attendance at Students for a Democratic Society protest rallies and for her involvement in the Brandeis Strike Information Center.[6] She and her room-mate Susan Saxe worked to organize student protests for a committee known as the National Student Strike Force.[1][4] The two also became acquainted with fellow organizer Stanley Ray Bond, an ex-convict and soldier attending classes at the university on a special program.[1]

Protest and murder[edit]

Through their association with Bond, Power and Saxe became involved in a plot to arm the Black Panthers as a response to United States involvement in the Vietnam War.[1] Bond introduced them to former convicts William Gilday and Robert Valeri and together the group plotted to rob the State Street Bank & Trust.[1] On September 20, 1970, the group robbed a National Guard armory in Newburyport, Massachusetts and took 400 rounds of ammunition.[7] They also stole weapons and set fire to the facility, causing about $125,000 in damage.[8]

Three days later, on September 23, 1970, the group robbed a bank in Brighton, Massachusetts, carrying handguns, a shotgun and a submachine gun.[6][9] The first police officer on the scene, Boston police officer Walter Schroeder, was shot in the back by Gilday when he attempted to stop the robbery.[2] He subsequently died from his wounds. The group escaped with $26,000 in cash that they planned to use to finance an overthrow of the federal government.[2] Power was behind the wheel of one of the two getaway vehicles.[1]

While raiding her apartment after the bank robbery, police found evidence tying Power to both robberies. This included weapons, ammunition and a telephone switchboard from the armory.[6] Power's attorneys would subsequently blame her involvement in the robberies as the result of manipulation by her partner Bond.[2]


Gilday, Valeri and Bond were captured shortly after the Brighton robbery. Bond died in custody while making a bomb as part of an escape bid, while Valeri turned state's evidence and testified against Gilday. Valeri received a jail term of 25 years for the robbery, while Gilday received a death sentence.[10][11] Power and Saxe eluded capture.[1]

In November 1970, Power and Saxe became the sixteenth and seventeenth persons on the FBI's Most Wanted Fugitives list.[12] At first, Power and Saxe traveled together, escaping arrest by hiding out in women's communes.[9] For part of this time, the two went to Connecticut and Power assumed the name Mae Kelly.[5] Saxe was able to elude arrest until 1975, when she was captured in Philadelphia. She then served five years in prison.[1]

Prior to her surrender in 1993, Power had last been seen in Kentucky in 1974.[9] In 1977, she assumed the alias Alice Louise Metzinger, taking the name from the birth certificate of an infant that had died the year before her birth.[5][9] In 1979, she moved west to Oregon[8] and gave birth to a son, Jaime, by an unknown father.[5]

As time went by, authorities received few tips regarding Power's location and she was eventually removed from the Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1984. The following year, she settled in the city of Lebanon in Oregon's Willamette Valley with her son Jaime and boyfriend Ron Duncan, a local meat cutter and bookkeeper.[1][2][13] While living in Oregon, Power taught cooking classes at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany and worked at restaurants in Corvallis and Eugene. She reached the shortlist for the post of food writer for the Corvallis Gazette-Times [2] and became part-owner of Napoli Restaurant and Bakery in Eugene.[7]

Power had suffered from clinical depression since childhood and confided her fugitive status to her therapist Linda Carroll.[14] She developed the desire to stop living her life under her assumed name[15] and, through therapy that included participation in the mock trial of a soldier charged with killing civilians during the Vietnam War, she began to prepare for her surrender to the authorities. This included her decision to marry Duncan in 1992 and reveal her background to her friends.[3]


In 1993, Katherine Ann Power negotiated a surrender with authorities and ended 23 years of hiding.[2] Negotiations were carried out through her attorneys Steven Black, a public defender, and Rikki Klieman, a prominent Boston lawyer.[1] On September 15, 1993, she pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery and manslaughter in Boston.[1][7] At the time, her son Jaime was 14 years old and a freshman in high school, while Power was 44 years old.[2][16] Her husband, Ron Duncan, then adopted Jaime.[5]

In court, Power made the following statement about officer Schroeder:

His death was shocking to me, and I have had to examine my conscience and accept any responsibility I have for the event that led to it.[13]

Power was sentenced to eight to twelve years in prison for the bank robbery, and five years and a $10,000 fine for the National Guard armory crimes.[8] Additionally, judge Robert Banks of Suffolk County Superior Court imposed a probation condition that Power could not profit from her crime. Banks remarked that the sentence negotiated was inadequate.[7] The second five years were to be served concurrently with the eight- to twelve-year sentence, with a possibility of parole after five years.[8] This probation condition also precluded her ability to profit directly or indirectly from telling her story.[17] Power appealed this portion of the sentence on First Amendment grounds, but the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected the argument and the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari.[17][18]

In a 1993 public statement, Power said:

The illegal acts I committed arose not from any desire for personal gain but from a deep philosophical and spiritual commitment that if a wrong exists, one must take active steps to stop it, regardless of the consequences to oneself in comfort or security.[13]

Prison and release[edit]

While in prison, Power completed her college degree in liberal studies through Boston University.[19] In March 1998, Power was eligible for parole after receiving time off for good behavior but withdrew her request after opposition from the victim's family.[20] On October 2, 1999, she was released from prison in Massachusetts and placed on fourteen years of probation after serving six years of her eight- to twelve-year sentence.[21] Fifty years old at the time of release, Power then returned to Oregon and the family she formed while a fugitive.[21] Shortly after release, she appeared at a public forum on peace at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where she questioned the "violent posture" of some people in the peace movement, including activist Philip Berrigan.[21]

Later, Power enrolled in graduate studies at Oregon State University in Corvallis, where she worked on a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies with focuses on writing, philosophy, and ethics.[19] She also taught freshman composition for the English department.[22] On May 10, 2001, she read a poem she wrote called "Falling from Darkness" in Corvallis (this was also a poetry reading and did also include poems she did not write) and graduated with her MAIS later that year.[19][22][23] In September 2001, Katherine Ann Power represented the Oregon State philosophy department in a biotech lecture series.[24]

As of 2008, she worked for Cambridge Cares About AIDS in the Boston area.[25] As of 2013 she lived in Boston and had two grandsons.[26]

Cultural references[edit]

Since her surrender, Power and her story have been the basis for a variety of books and even a television episode of Law & Order. The episode, entitled White Rabbit, was loosely based on her case. In the show, her character is called Susan Forrest and she is found after money from the robbery turns up in a private safety deposit box after a robbery. William Kunstler appears in the episode playing himself as Forrest's lawyer. The fifth-season episode aired on October 19, 1994.[27] Later her story was the basis for Dana Spiotta's novel Eat the Document (2006).[28] She also plays a part in David Racine's novel Floating in a Most Peculiar Way (1999).[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Lambert, Pam; Vickie Bane; Tom Moroney (October 4, 1993). "Alice doesn't live here anymore". People: 61. Archived from the original on June 26, 2012. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Hamilton, William (September 18, 1993). "Former Student Radical's Journey From Depression Led to Surrender". The Washington Post. p. A3.
  3. ^ a b Egan, Timothy (September 17, 1993). "A Conscience Haunted by a Radical's Crime". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
  4. ^ a b Schulberg, Pete (February 10, 1994). "Oregon Fugitive Tells Tale on 20/20". The Oregonian.
  5. ^ a b c d e Wilson, Bradford P. (October 1993). "Dubious Sympathies". On Principle. Archived from the original on 2007-01-28. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
  6. ^ a b c d "The Radical Bank Job". Time. October 10, 1970. Archived from the original on March 30, 2008. Retrieved May 15, 2008.
  7. ^ a b c d Rimer, Sara (October 7, 1993). "Ex-Radical Gets 8 to 12 Years In 1970 Killing, and a Rebuke". The New York Times. p. A1. Archived from the original on February 16, 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d Bates, Tom (November 25, 1993). "Power gets 5 years, fine, lecture". The Oregonian. p. D5.
  9. ^ a b c d "Fugitive gives up". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. September 16, 1993.
  10. ^ James Ridgeway (Sep 25, 2012). "The Other Death Sentence". Mother Jones. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  11. ^ David Abel (Sep 16, 2012). "Apologetic in the end, William Gilday die". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  12. ^ "Wanted by FBI". Time. November 16, 1970. Archived from the original on February 15, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2008.
  13. ^ a b c Carlson, Margaret (September 27, 1993). "The Return Of The Fugitive". Time. Archived from the original on February 15, 2009. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  14. ^ Klieman, Rikki J.; Peter Knobler (2003). Fairy Tales Can Come True: How a Driven Woman Changed Her Destiny. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-052402-2. 254.
  15. ^ Krauthammer, Charles (October 4, 1993). "From People Power to Polenta". Time. Archived from the original on April 24, 2008. Retrieved May 15, 2008.
  16. ^ Serrano, Barbara A. (September 16, 1993). "Secret Life of a Radical Fugitive". The Seattle Times. p. A1.
  17. ^ a b Epps, Garrett. Power is free, but not her speech. Archived 2006-09-17 at the Wayback Machine University of Oregon. Reprint from The Oregonian, November 14, 1999, Forum section: D2. Retrieved on May 14, 2008.
  18. ^ Power v. Massachusetts, 516 U.S. 1042 (1996).
  19. ^ a b c Floyd, Mark. Local writer to read poems and essays May 10. Archived 2006-09-14 at the Wayback Machine Oregon State University. Retrieved on May 14, 2008.
  20. ^ Bates, Tom (March 6, 1998). "Katherine Power drops parole request". The Oregonian.
  21. ^ a b c Denson, Bryan (October 28, 1999). "Katherine Ann Power turns up in Oregon, plans to stay". The Oregonian. p. A1.
  22. ^ a b Highlights from the 2000–2001 Annual Report of the OSU Department of Philosophy. Archived 2009-02-15 at the Wayback Machine Oregon State University. Retrieved on May 14, 2008.
  23. ^ Barnard, Jeff (May 12, 2001). "Quest for redemption never ends". The Columbian. Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 16, 2011. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
  24. ^ OSU 2001–02 "Ideas Matter" Lecture series focuses on biotech. Archived 2006-09-07 at the Wayback Machine Oregon State University, September 25, 2001. Retrieved on May 14, 2008.
  25. ^ The Memorial Church: Previous Faith & Life Forum Events. Archived 2008-05-16 at the Wayback Machine The President and Fellows of Harvard College. Retrieved on May 14, 2008.
  26. ^ Fuquq, Canda (30 October 2013). "Former fugitive Katherine Ann Power to speak in Corvallis". Corvallis Gazette Times. Archived from the original on 2020-09-16. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  27. ^ "Law & Order" White Rabbit (1994). Archived 2017-02-08 at the Wayback Machine The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on May 14, 2008.
  28. ^ Scheers, Julia (February 26, 2006). "Hiding in Plain Sight". The New York Times Book Review: 15.
  29. ^ "Floating in a most Peculiar Way". Kirkus Reviews. Kirkus Service, Inc. March 1, 1999.