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Charges against Eric M. Mann and 23 other Weathermen of conspiracy to commit murder were dismissed Saturday by Judge M. Edward Viola of East Cambridge District Court.
The charges stemmed from an incident on November 8, in which two bullets were fired through a window of the Cambridge police station.
James W. Paradise, a 16-year-old ninth-grade dropout, testified that the Cambridge police had forced him to sign a false statement that he had witnessed the Weathermen planning and executing the shooting. "Four policemen had me against a wall, slapping me around. What else could I do?" Paradise said.
Paradise testified that Richard A. Gargiulo, assistant district attorney of Middlesex County, "prepared the statement, and I forcibly put my name to it." The Cambridge police offered him a $10 bribe to testify against the Weathermen, Paradise said.
The police picked up Paradise on November 17 as a runaway. That night, after Paradise signed the allegedly false statement, they arrested 23 Weathermen in three separate raids on houses in Cambridge.
Viola found probable cause Saturday for the Middlesex County Grand Jury to hear evidence against James H. Reeves of assault with intent to commit murder in connection with the shooting incident. Viola also found probable cause for the Grand Jury to hear evidence against Reeves, William L. Geoghegan, and Jill H. Wattenburg on charges of failure to have a firearm identification card.
Viola dismissed charges against Mann and James Kilpatrick of assault with intent to commit murder-the same offense for which he found probable cause in Reeves' case. He dismissed promotion of anarchy charges against all three.
"These men and women have gained their freedom by the same system they are trying to destroy," Viola said at the close of the hearing. But Daniel Klubock, counsel for Reeves, said last night that "decisions like the finding of probablecause against Reeves make it extremely difficult to convince young people that the system is as just as Viola claimed."
Five of the 24 Weathermen face trial again Wednesday in East Cambridge District Court in connection with an incident on November 19, in which Weathermen and police engaged in a shoving match outside the Cambridge police station.
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