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.