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Woman in Bombing Case Accused of Plotting to Kill Daughter

July 19, 1986

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A private school owner accused of hiring mercenaries to intimidate former teachers has been charged in what prosecutors say was a plot to kill or intimidate her daughter to keep her from testifying.

Charlotte Ruth Wyckoff, 51, and school co-owner Elizabeth Leta Hamilton, 39, both of Dana Point, were indicted Thursday on federal charges of consiracy, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

The women, owners of the Pacific Coast Preparatory Schools chain of five preschools and elementary schools, are being held without bail on the earlier charges of firebombing cars of teachers who filed complaints after being fired.

The pair approached another inmate last month and proposed that she persuade her boyfriend to intimidate, kidnap or murder Shirley Wright, Ms. Wyckoff’s 28-year-old daughter, prosecutors allege.

An undercover agent posed as the boyfriend and in a telephone conversation with Ms. Wyckoff was asked to ″ensure that Shirley Wright did not make it to court,″ the indictment says.

Ms. Wright, testifying for the prosecution at bail hearings for her mother and Ms. Hamilton, said her mother had posted guards in a a tree outside her home last August about the time of the bombings.

The women were charged in May with hiring Alabama mercenary school operator Franklin Camper and three associates to assault and intimidate former teachers.

The six were charged with 10 counts of racketeering, use of explosives and arson in the firebombings of cars belonging to Robyn and Michael Rishoff of Etiwanda and Harriet and Richard Russo of Ontario in August 1985.

In a plea bargain, James Larosa Cuneo pleaded guilty and agreed to turn government witness. The others, including Ms. Wyckoff and Ms. Hamilton, have pleaded innocent.

The Rishoffs had worked as teachers at one of the private schools and had filed complaints after they were fired by Ms. Wyckoff. Harriet Russo, who also had been fired, later accused Ms. Wyckoff and Ms. Hamilton of slandering her and threatened an injunction against them.

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