The Symbionese Liberation Army began in the fall of 1973 when no more than a dozen white, college-educated children of middle-class families adopted a seven-headed snake as their symbol, a black ex-convict as their leader, and the phrase, "Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people'' as their slogan.
The violent group derived its name from the word "symbiosis,'' a biological term referring to unlike organisms coexisting harmoniously for mutual benefit.
Some dates in the history of the SLA:
Nov. 6, 1973: The SLA issues a "communique'' claiming responsibility for the murder of Oakland Schools Superintendent Marcus Foster, a black man, because he supposedly favored a police plan for students to carry identification. Joseph Remiro is serving a life sentence for helping shoot Foster.
Feb. 4, 1974: SLA kidnaps 19-year-old newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst from her Berkeley, Calif., apartment.
April 15, 1974: After weeks locked in a closet, Hearst joins the SLA, begins calling herself "Tania,'' after the girlfriend of Cuban revolutionary leader Che Guevara, and is photographed holding a rifle during a robbery of the Hibernia Bank branch in San Francisco.
May 17, 1974: Six heavily armed members of the SLA, including leader Donald DeFreeze, die in a shootout and fire that consumes their Los Angeles hideout. Hearst and Bill and Emily Harris escape because they had been stopped at a store for shoplifting. The Harrises eventually serve eight years in prison for the Hearst kidnapping.
April 21, 1975: Myrna Opsahl, 42, is killed during a robbery of the Crocker National Bank in Carmichael, near Sacramento.
Sept. 18, 1975: Hearst captured by the FBI in San Francisco.
March 20, 1976: Hearst convicted of robbing the San Francisco bank.
1976: Steven Soliah acquitted on charges related to the Carmichael robbery.
January 1979: President Carter commutes Hearst's seven-year sentence and she is released from prison after serving 21 months.
June 1999: Kathleen Soliah, Steven's sister, arrested in St. Paul, Minn., where she has been living under the name Sara Jane Olson.
January 2001: Hearst pardoned by President Clinton.
October 2001: Olson pleads guilty to possessing bombs with intent to murder police officers by bombing Los Angeles police cars in retaliation for the 1974 shootout.
January 2002: Olson, Bill and Emily Harris, Mike Bortin and James Kilgore charged with first-degree murder in Opsahl's death.