Weather Underground Bombs Itself


3 dead in Greenwich Village townhouse explosion

The Weather Underground was a radical leftist group whose goal was to overthrow the government of the United States.  Many of its members had started as anti-Vietnam protesters who had now morphed into violent extremists, intent on killing cops and military personnel. 

On March 6, 1970, members of the Weather Underground were staying in a townhouse at 118 West 11th Street.  The home was owned by wealthy advertising executive James Platt Wilkerson, who was the father of Weather Underground member Cathlyn Platt Wilkerson.  Staying in the house were Cathryn, Ted Gold (the son of a prominent doctor), Diana Oughton (whose family owned a bank), Terry Robbins, and Kathy Boudin (whose father was a prominent lawyer).

The five radicals were working on a plot to place bombs at Fort Dix, New Jersey and the Columbia University Administration building.  Despite their lack of knowledge about bomb making or even basic electric skills, the team began making bombs with dynamite they had purchased in New Hampshire.  Robbins appeared to be the main bomb maker, but all were aware and involved in the planned bombing at Fort Dix. 

A few minutes before noon one of the bombs accidentally went off while Robbins and Oughton were working on it.  A massive explosion rocked the entire block.  Robbins and Oughton were killed by the blast and Gold was killed by falling debris.  Wilkerson and Boudin were on the upper floors and survived the blast.  Passersby helped them out of the rubble and they escaped the scene before cops and firemen realized that the explosion was not a simple gas leak.  Additional dynamite that was stored in the basement detonated and further damaged buildings on the block.   

An investigation began, led initially by future Chief of Detectives Al Seedman, and assisted by the FBI.  While meticulously going through the bomb scene they found a 37mm anti-tank shell, 57 additional sticks of dynamite, 12 pipe bombs, and numerous blasting caps.  The also found plans for the tunnels underneath Columbia University that were apparently going to be utilized to place devices.Weat They realized the Weather Underground connection and soon had warrants out for the arrest of Wilkerson and Boudin.  They were on the run.  In 1980, after a long stint on the FBI 10 most wanted list, Wilkerson turner herself in.  She only served 11 months before being released.

Kathy Boudin went on to further infamy in the 1981 Brinks robbery where Nyack cops Waverly Brown and Edward O’Grady and Brinks employee Peter Paige were murdered.  It was during this crime that Boudin was finally arrested.  She was sentenced to 20 to life but released in 2003.  She ironically got a job at Columbia University, one of the locations that the Weather Underground planned to bomb. 


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