Cop Killer Breaks Out of Prison


On November 2, 1979, convicted cop killer, JoAnne Chesimard was broken out of Clinton Correctional Facility in Union, New Jersey. Chesimard was serving a life sentence for the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973.

In 1973 Chesimard was a very active member of the Black Liberation Army. She had been accused of numerous robberies and other crimes around the country. In 1973, New Jersey State Troopers Werner Foerster and James Harper stopped a car with three BLA members in it, including Chesimard. A shootout ensued and Trooper Harper was shot and wounded by Chesimard. Another BLA member shot Foerster and then used Foerster’s own gun to execute him with two bullets to the head. Chesimard was shot three times in the exchange and arrested after a vehicle pursuit.

Chesimard went to trial for the murder of Trooper Foerster and was convicted. She was sentenced to life in prison in 1977 and eventually sent to Clinton Correctional. Black Liberation Army allies determined to get her out and went on a crime spree to allegedly finance her release and escape.

On November 2, 1979, three members of the Black Liberation Army visited Chesimard in prison. The perps were able to secrete .45 caliber pistols and a stick of dynamite on their persons and still access the prison visitors area! When Chesimard was produced, they pulled their guns, threatened to light the dynamite, and took two corrections officers hostage. The hostage takers and their charge negotiated their way out of the prison and made their escape.

Chesimard lived on the lam from the FBI for several years within the United States. Several locations in New York City were raided in an attempt to find her, but she either left before the raid or was never present. By 1984 she was living in the communist paradise of Cuba. The FBI has made attempts to extradite her but so far has not gotten the cooperation they need. There is a $1 million reward for her capture. She has yet to pay her debt for Trooper Foerster’s murder.


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