After two years on the run, James Charles Kopp was ready to come home.
Wanted for the 1998 murder of abortion doctor Barnett Slepian in suburban Buffalo, N.Y., Kopp was anxious, broke and ill. He had just left Ireland in a mad dash, one step ahead of his international pursuers, police say, holing up in a medieval French village in preparation for a trip to Montreal and, finally, the United States.
His planned destination, authorities say, was a safe house occupied by Dennis J. Malvasi and Loretta C. Marra, two longtime participants in the radical anti-abortion movement who allegedly lived under assumed names with their young son in a two-bedroom walkup in Brooklyn, N.Y.
"The sooner I get about 1000, the sooner you see this smiling cherubic face," Kopp allegedly wrote to Marra on March 21 in an anonymous e-mail account they shared.
"I know of no problems," Marra allegedly responded. "We are convinced that the mere fact of you being undiagnosed enough to stand around on the street and make phone calls is complete proof that you are not diagnosed at all. Can't wait to see you."
But Kopp was far from "undiagnosed," or undetected by police. Instead, according to court documents and federal officials, the e-mail, telephone calls and packages sent between Marra and Kopp had been monitored for months.
Alleging that Marra and Malvasi were aiding a fugitive, FBI agents had secured secret court warrants allowing them to record their telephone conversations, snatch computer data, drop listening devices into the couple's apartment and even sneak in and snap pictures of incriminating letters, according to court documents.
The surveillance finally led FBI investigators Thursday to a small post office in the French town of Dinan, where Kopp was arrested, unarmed, by police after picking up $300 in cash allegedly sent by Marra and Malvasi. He has refused to speak to authorities since his capture. It could be months before Kopp is returned to the United States.
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