On August 7, 1970, Jonathan P. Jackson stormed a courtroom in Marin County, CA, and took Judge Harold Haley and three jurors hostage in an attempt to negotiate the freedom of “The Soledad Brothers,” three prisoners who were accused of murdering a white guard at Soledad Prison earlier that year. (Jackson’s brother George was one of the three accused inmates.)
Jackson had occasionally worked as a bodyguard for UCLA professor and political activist Angela Davis. Jackson brought three guns registered to Davis into the Marin County Hall of Justice, where Judge Haley was presiding over the trial of San Quentin inmate James McClain. He then drew weapons from his satchel, and with the assistance of McClain and inmates Ruchell Magee and William A. Christmas took judge Haley, Deputy District Attorney Gary Thomas and three female jurors hostage.
Upon exiting the courthouse, Jackson and the other kidnappers attempted to flee the courthouse with the hostages in tow. The police responding to the incident opened fire on the van Jackson was driving. At the end of the shootout, Jackson, Haley, McClain and Christmas were dead and McGee and Thomas were seriously injured. The judge had apparently been killed by the kidnappers from the discharge of the shotgun which had been taped to his neck.