William Gilday - North America

William “Lefty” Gilday is a 60′s radical serving a
life sentence for his involvement in bank
expropriation, which ended with a police officer
killed, in attempts to finance the anti-war
movement during the Vietnam war.
Personal Background

Gilday is a former minor league baseball player
from Amesbury, Massachusetts, who, while in his
early to mid-thirties, was arrested and imprisoned
on robbery charges. While imprisoned he met up
with Stanely Bond, a Vietnam helicopter pilot also
imprisoned on robbery charges. The two became
friends and after their release, both entered into
the Student Tutor Education Program(STEP), a
program designed to help former inmates enter
into university level education. Gilday enrolled
into Boston’s Northeastern University with
another fellow inmate, Robert Valeri. Bond
entered into Brandeis University.

It did not take long before the three former
inmates got involved in the Student movements of
the 1960’s. William Gilday and friends, became
involved in Students for a Democratic Society
(SDS) and later moved into a militant offshoot of
SDS, known as the Weather Underground.
Gilday began to organize around students rights
and the anti-war movement. During this period,
the three met up with Susan Saxe and Katherine
Powers, two college students from Brandeis

Bank Expropriation


On September 23, 1970, Gilday along with
four other comrades entered the State Street
Bank and Trust Company in Boston with the
intent to expropriate funds to help finance the
movement against the Vietnam War. The
group retrieve $26,585 from the bank.

According to the FBI, Gilday and friends were
a “radical, revolutionary group dedicated to
undermining police powers.” The FBI claimed
it also had reason to believe the same group
was responsible for an assault on the National
Guard Armory at Newburyport, Massachusetts,
on September 20, 1970 which left the armory
heavily damaged by fire and explosions.
Ammunition and a truck were seized during
this action but were later recovered. It is also
believed the group took part in the robbery of a
savings and loan in Philadelphia earlier that

As Gilday and company left the bank, a Boston
police officer, who had been alerted by a silent
alarm, was shot and killed. Shortly after the
incident Boston police obtained warrants for
two college students, Susan Saxe and
Katherine Powers, and former convicts Stanley
Bond and William Gilday. The four were
charged with murdering the policeman during
the bank robbery. Bond and a fifth member of
the group, Robert Valeri, were quickly
apprehended. Days after the robbery, William
Gilday was captured after pursuit by police
cruisers and helicopter.


Legal Case

Gilday was tried and found guilty for the killing of
the Boston police officer. He was sentenced to
death but his sentence was later reduced to life

In 1972, Gilday’s codefendant, Stanley Bond, was
killed in an explosion in Walpole State Prison.
According to the authorities, Bond was making a
bomb which was to be used during an attempted
escape. Robert Valeri became a witness for the
state against his accomplices, served time in
prison for manslaughter and armed robbery, and
was released.

The FBI claimed Saxe and Powers were able to
elude authorities because of close relationships
they developed within the women’s movement.
FBI agents flooded the women’s communities of
Boston, Philadelphia, Lexington (Kentucky),
Hartford and New Haven. Their conspicuous
interrogation of hundreds of politically active


women, followed by highly publicized grand
jury subpoenas and jailings, wreaked havoc
in health collectives and other vital projects.
Activists and potential supporters were
scared off, and fear spread across the
country, hampering women’s and lesbian
organizing nationally.

In March of 1975, Susan Saxe was arrested
in Philadelphia and served seven years in
prison before finally being released. After
twenty-three years on the run and five years
on the ‘Most Wanted’ list, Katherine Powers
was arrested in 1993 after turning herself in
to police. She was sentenced to eight to
twelve years in prison and was released in
October of 1999.  Gilday is the only one still
held captive. He is presently incarcerated in
MCI Shirley in Shirley, Massachusetts.

MCI Shirley
P.O. Box 1218
Shirley, MA 01464-1218