3. August 7th, 1970
Jonathan Jackson(17yr old) entered the courtroom in Marin County heavily armed where John Mclain a black prisoner from San Quentin was on trial on the charge of an attempted murder of a prison guard but he claimed that he was not guilty. He was defending himself and his witnesses were other San Quentin prisoners
When Jonathan entered William Christmas was on the witness stand. He took the judge as hostage along with the prosecutor district attorney
Two other prisonersapart from Jonathan and William were also involved Ruchell Magee and James Mclain.
It took them more than 30 mins to exit the courtroom. One of the prisoners had tied a shotgun around the neck of the judge and then they went to a waiting van, a Hertz rental van.
Jonathan was driving, Mclain was in the passenger seat and else in the back
During this time the San Quentin prison guards had arrived and they had orders to shoot to kill irrespective of the hostage
9 seconds of gunfire—all shots were fired into the van—the prisoners fired no shots
Jonathan was killed, Mclain was killed, the judge was killed, and William Christmas was also killed. Ruchell Magee and Gary Thomas (district attorney) were seriously wounded
All the shots , except one, came from outside the van. The shotgun, was believed to have went off after the judge was hit by a bullet from outside
Who was Jonathan Jackson?
Jonathan Jackson was from Los Angeles and his brother was George Jackson, who was a prisoner in the Soledad prison and one of the men from the famous trio the ‘Soledad Brothers’
Soledad Prison is in Monterey County and ‘Soledad Brothers’ were George Jackon, John Clutchette, and Fleeta Drumgo. The case of August 7th was known as the “Soledad Brothers Case”.
Angela, at this time was teaching at the UCLA She was friends with Kendra Alexander, who went to high school with John Clutchette and knew Mrs Doris Maxwell, John’s mother who sought Kendra’s help.
Along with Kendra Alexander and Franklin Alexander (Kendra’s Husband), Favia Davis (Angela’s sister) and Charlene Mitchell (Franklin’s sister) was also involved in the defense.
While Angela was teaching at UCLA someone wrote to the student newspaper that she was a member f the communist party and she was promptly fired. This happened in 1969.
Now, Ruchell Magee survived the August 7th. He was seriously wounded but survived. Magee was arrested as a teenager in Louisiana and was charged with rape of a white woman. This was a suspicious charge since lynching in the south and accusations against black teens and men were prevalent. However, he was found guilty, not through a trial but by a judge after being advised not to contest the play.
He was released after eight years on the condition that he would leave Louisiana. He went to LA. There he got into a verbal dispute with someone over a debt of 10 dollars and was arrested with a charge of kidnapping and was sentenced to life imprisonment in San Quentin.
When Ruchelle was questioned about why we helped Jonathan he said that he was being illegally held and was a slave was claiming his freedom.
On February 20th, 1970 Angela called a press conference and announced the formation of the Soledad Brothers Defense Committee.