Court can’t keep fugitive cop-killer from getting $15K cut of land deal
One of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists — a convicted cop-killer and fugitive now believed to be living in Cuba — has some money headed her way from North Carolina after a county-brokered land deal.
Joanne Deborah Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur, was cut a check for $15,351 by the Superior Court clerk of New Hanover County earlier this month after a land deal between a private LLC and descendants of the Freeman family that owned land near Freeman Park in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, the Port City Daily reports.
Chesimard — a former Black Panther and godmother of hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur — is due to receive the funds after the Superior Court of New Hanover County brokered selling prices for the Freeman heirs. Shakur is one of the last Freeman heirs to sell but remains unable to “return to the United States from Cuba, due to an outstanding warrant for her arrest in the States for murder charges,” according to court documents cited by the newspaper.
Judge Joshua Willey signed a court order April 2 indicating that the court was “aware of no legal reason” to withhold payment from Chesimard directly or through her appointed power of attorney. The check was signed on April 3, according to the newspaper.
Chesimard, originally of New York City, escaped from prison in New Jersey in 1979 while serving a life sentence for killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster six years earlier while part of the Black Liberation Army. She lived underground for years before being located in 1984 in Cuba, where she’s still believed to be hiding out, according to the FBI.
Negotiations for the land deal began nearly 10 years ago, the Port City Daily reports. Court documents indicate that Shakur made at least one appearance in a Manhattan courtroom in May 2015 to sign a power of attorney document giving legal rights to her sister Beverly Goins. Subsequent court documents noted that Shakur was in Cuba, according to the newspaper.
Shakur later retained attorney Lennox Hinds — a New York-based lawyer who represented her during her murder trial — to secure the company’s payment through Goins. Hinds could not be reached for comment early Monday.
FBI officials, as well as the Office of the US Attorney, are now investigating whether any laws were broken in the deal, according to the Port City Daily. A message seeking additional comment from the Department of Justice was not returned.
US and Cuban officials reportedly were discussing a deal to bring Chesimard — the first woman on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists — back to American soil in 2016, but Cuba’s foreign minister later told President Trump in June that there was no way the Castro regime was going to give up the convicted cop-killer or any of the other fugitives granted asylum in his country. Trump had demanded her return in exchange for any new agreements with Cuba.
The FBI and the New Jersey State Police, meanwhile, are offering a combined reward of up to $2 million for information leading to Chesimard’s arrest.
“Investigators welcome any and all information from the public to assist us to get Chesimard back into custody so that justice can be served,” FBI officials said in a statement. “Trooper Werner Foerster’s family and the New Jersey State Police deserve to see the woman responsible for his death, back behind bars for the rest of her life.”