Where are they now? (the would-be assassins edition)

Former President Gerald Ford died yesterday at age 93, but not for want of trying by two women who attempted to assassinate him within a few weeks of each other back in 1975 — both right here in California.

First Lynette Alice “Squeaky” Fromme, a member of Charles Manson’s “Family” cult, pointed a loaded .45-caliber semi-automatic at Ford on the State Capitol grounds in Sacramento on Sept. 5, 1975; Secret Service agents disarmed her before any shots were fired.

Then, 17 days later, Sara Jane Moore, an accountant and reportedly a former FBI informant in the Patty Hearst kidnapping case, fired one shot at Ford from a .38-caliber revolver as they stood about 40 feet apart outside the St. Francis Hotel on San Francisco’s Union Square. She missed, perhaps because an ex-Marine in the crowd grabbed her arm as she fired and then wrestled her to the ground to prevent any other shots. (That day’s hero, Oliver Sipple, died in 1989, an extremely sad story.)

Both women were convicted of attempted assassination of the president and sentenced to life in prison, and both later escaped from the same minimum security federal women’s prison camp in West Virginia — Moore for a day in 1979, Fromme for two days in 1987.

Today, Fromme, 58, is serving her time at the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas; she has no projected release date, as she has been waiving all parole hearings thus far. And Moore, 76, is right here in the neighborhood, doing her time at the federal women’s prison in Dublin, with a projected release date of Sept. 21, 2007.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.