JURY CONVICTS PROFESSOR IN PIPE BOMBING
By Teresa Puente
Tribune Staff Writer
A university professor was found guilty Friday of four charges in the 1992 bombing
of a military recruiting center on Chicago's Northwest Side.
Jose Solis Jordan, 46, a former assistant professor at DePaul University
recently with the University of Puerto Rico, was convicted by a jury of conspiracy,
damage and attempted damage to government property and possession of
Solis, who had been free on bond, was taken into custody after the verdict
announced. Sentencing was set for July 7, and he could face a sentence of about 6
years, prosecutors said.
Solis has denied any role in the bombing and said he was charged to discredit
supporters of the Puerto Rican independence movement. During the trial,
he disputed the testimony of three FBI agents that he confessed to them after his
arrest in November 1997 and testimony by eight agents that he never asked to see an
"The jury in the end credited the testimony of numerous FBI agents," said
U.S. Atty. Jonathan Bunge, who prosecuted the case with Assistant U.S.
Atty. Virginia Kendall. "It sends a message that each of us is entitled to speak his mind
and hold his or her own political beliefs, but that no one is entitled to advance their
political beliefs through terror or through an act that could cause pain to others."
Dressed in a tweed jacket and khaki pants, Solis remained composed as the
was read, but his wife and sister were overcome with emotion. During his
testimony, Solis, an avid supporter of Puerto Rican independence, defended the
right of a "colonized people" to armed struggle. But he said that did not make him
"I will continue to struggle whether it be from behind a desk at the University
Puerto Rico or at home with my family, or whether it be from behind prison bars,"
Solis said before the jury came back with the verdict. "I am a free man. They can't
take that away from me."
The case had been closely watched in the Puerto Rican community, where
status and future of the island has long been debated. Almost every day of the
two-week trial, the courtroom was packed with Solis' supporters.
Defense attorney Jed Stone said he plans to appeal.
"The struggle for self-determination in Puerto Rico will go on. Dr. Solis
became another victim of that struggle," said Stone, who defended Solis with Linda
Backiel. "He will use this as an opportunity to educate."