Police said Francisco Torres, 58, of Jamaica was charged with murder and conspiracy in the death of Sgt. John Young, who was shot to death in a "military-style attack" in a San Francisco police station on Aug. 29, 1971, allegedly carried out by members of the Black Liberation Army. Police said Young's death was part of a series of attacks on police officers by BLA members between 1968 and 1973 on both coasts that included the murder of two New York City police officers. Authorities said advances in forensic science enabled the investigators to analyze new evidence in the decades-old case starting in 1999, prompting the U.S. attorney for northern California to take charge of the investigation and the ensuing prosecution in early 2005. The investigation concluded Monday with the arrest of Torres, Ray Boudreuax and Henry Watson of Altameda, Calif.; Richard Brown of San Francisco; Harold Taylor of Panama City, Fla.; and Anthony Bottom and Herman Bell, who are both currently imprisoned for the murder of New York Police Officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones in May 1971. All are believed to be former members of the Black Liberation Army, according to authorities.Police said Torres was also an initial suspect in the Piagentini and Jones murders, but charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan praised the cooperation of local, state and federal law enforcement officials who took part in the investigation."Today's arrests for the murder of Sergeant John V. Young demonstrate that law enforcement will persevere in its pursuit of those who are allegedly involved in the murder of a police officer no matter how long ago the crime was committed," Ryan said. Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at news@times
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