Suspect captured in shootings of abortion providers

The key suspect in the killing of an American abortion provider and the shooting attacks of three Canadian doctors has been arrested in France.

The FBI said Thursday that James Kopp was captured and charged for the 1998 murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, an abortion provider who was shot in his home in Amherst, N.Y.

Kopp, nicknamed the "Atomic Dog" in anti-abortion circles, has also been charged with the 1995 attempted murder of Dr. Hugh Short, a doctor in Ancaster, Ont.

Both charges carry maximum penalties of life in prison.

Kopp, one of the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives, is also suspected in connection with attacks on abortion providers in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Rochester, N.Y.

All of Kopp's alleged targets provided abortions, and all were gunned down at home.

'Master of disguise' hid in Europe

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Louis Freeh released details of Kopp's arrest Thursday at a press conference in Washington, D.C.

Authorities say Kopp spent a year on the run in Ireland then travelled to France on March 12.

The anti-abortion activist is considered a master of disguise. He has used at least 28 aliases. Kopp appeared to have lost weight and changed his appearance by the time French officials caught up with him.

Kopp was captured, unarmed, as he left a post office in Dinan in northwestern France.

Ashcroft said that the arrest was the result of a collaboration between U.S., Canadian, French, Irish and British police forces. The process of extraditing Kopp from France has already begun.

U.S. police also arrested Loretta Marra, 37, and Dennis Malvasi, 51, of New York City, for harbouring Kopp as he was running from authorities.

FBI agents say they intercepted a series of e-mail messages between the couple and Kopp. Police say Kopp asked them to send him enough money to sneak back into the United States through Montreal.