• Ford Assailant Faces Inmate Assault Charge

Ford Assailant Faces Inmate Assault Charge

SAN FRANCISCO, Mar. 14 — The FBI is investigating a woman prisoner’s complaint that she was attacked with a claw hammer by fellow inmate Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, the would-be assassin of former President Ford, agents said Tuesday.

FBI special agent Roy McKinnon said Ms. Fromme, 30, could be charged with crime on a government reservation in connection with the alleged assault Thursday at the Women’s Correctional Institute in Pleasanton, about 35 miles east of San Francisco.

Other published reports said authorities were planning to charge the feisty red-haired Ms. Fromme with assault with intent to commit murder or manslaughter, charges of carrying a maximum three-year sentence.

The victim, Julienne Busic, allegedly was struck on the head with the claw side of a hammer Ms. Fromme was using to garden at the women’s prison. McKinnon said Ms. Busic was struck while several other inmates were nearby.

Ms. Busic is a Croatian convicted of murder in connection with a terrorist bombing at LaGuardia Airport in New York City in 1976. She was hospitalized overnight when prison officials considered her wound serious, but is now back in her cell in good condition, officials said.

Ms. Fromme has been isolated from the rest of the inmates since the incident. Both the prison and the FBI are investigating the incident, reportedly sparked by a “verbal exchange” between the two women earlier in the week.

McKinnon said the FBI investigation should be done in about a week and the results would be turned over to the U.S. Attorney’s office for possible prosecution.

Ms. Fromme, a follower of convicted mass murderer Charles Manson, was convicted of trying to assassinate President Ford as he walked through Sacramento’s Capitol Park in September 1975.

She was wrestled to the ground after pointing a semi-automatic pistol at Ford. She would be eligible for parole in 1985, although a conviction on any new charges could delay that.

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