99 Books 50 Year Anniversary Tribute to George Jackson The Freedom Archives Donate

On August 7, 1970 – 50 years ago – Jonathan Peter Jackson the 17-year old brother of George Jackson, brought 3 guns into the Marin County Hall of Justice, where Judge Haley was presiding over the trial of San Quentin prisoner James McClain. He drew weapons from his satchel, and with the assistance of McClain and 2 prisoners who were witnesses for McClain, Ruchell Magee and William A. Christmas, took Judge Haley, Deputy District Attorney Gary Thomas and 3 female jurors hostage. Upon exiting the courthouse, Jackson and the other kidnappers attempted to flee with the hostages in tow. Police and prison guards opened fire on the van Jackson was driving. At the end of the shootout, Jackson, Haley, McClain and Christmas were dead and McGee and Thomas were seriously injured. The kidnapping was meant as a tool to negotiate the freedom of the Soledad Brothers, 3 Black prisoners (George Jackson, Fleeta Drumgo, and John Clutchette) who were charged with the murder of a prison guard at Soledad Prison in California.