Before there was Kathleen Soliah, aka Sara Jane Olson, there was Stanley Dean Baker, aka “Fingers.” St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Ruben Rosario says Baker was the drifter and hitchhiker from Wyoming who killed, dismembered and supposedly ate parts of the Good Samaritan social worker from California who picked him up on a Montana highway in 1970. Olson and Baker the “cannibal” killer are among thousands who committed crimes elsewhere but were allowed to relocate to Minnesota or other states following their release under an interstate agreement for adult offender supervision that has been in effect since 1937.
Local lawmakers treated Sara Jane Olson like the Minnesota version of Osama bin Laden. Olson is an easy scapegoat, Rosario says. There are an estimated 1,591 convicted offenders from other states – from burglars to convicted killers – allowed to live here. We’ve exported 2,518 of our own across the nation. We’re talking everything here from property burglars to murderers. Where are those other letters of protest, Rosario asks? Olson was released Tuesday and will return to Minnesota on parole to live with her husband and three children. The probation officer who supervised Baker’s time in Minnesota is more than a little chagrined at the political spin revolving around Olson. “I think this ‘tough talk’ about Olson has been pretty silly,” said Tom Foster. “They know better than this.”