Warren Aloysious Kimbro (April 29, 1934 –
February 3, 2009) was a Black Panther Party member in New Haven,
Connecticut who was found guilty of the May 21, 1969, murder of New
York Panther Alex Rackley, in the first of the New Haven Black Panther
trials in 1970.
Kimbro had been a resident of the New Haven Panther
headquarters at 365 Orchard Street, where Rackley was held and
tortured for two days under suspicion of being an informant for the
FBI's COINTELPRO program.
It was established at the trial that afterwards,
Kimbro, Bridgeport, Connecticut Panther Lonnie McLucas, and national
Panther field marshal George W. Sams, Jr. had driven Rackley to the
marshes of Middlefield, Connecticut, where Kimbro and McLucas had each
shot Rackley, on Sams' orders.
Sams testified that national Panther leader Bobby
Seale, who had been speaking at Yale University the day before the
murder, had personally ordered the killing, but there was no
corroborating evidence; the jury in Seale's subsequent trial was
unable to reach a verdict, and the prosecution chose not to re-try the
Many commentators believed that, in fact, Sams had
not only orchestrated the murder, but had done so to cover up the fact
that he was the informant and agent provocateur, even though they have
no corroborating evidence to prove this claim. According to Michael
Koskoff, one of the lawyers for McLucas,
"Many of the people in the New Haven chapter
of the Panthers were middle class. They were defined more by their
propaganda than by their own personalities. And they were young and
At the trial, Sams and Kimbro both turned state's
evidence in exchange for the reduced charge of second degree murder,
for which each received the mandatory life sentence and served four
years. Kimbro afterwards attended Harvard University.
The case later became part of an urban legend that
Hillary Clinton defended Bobby Seale and helped him get acquitted.
This was not, in fact, the case as Clinton was a student at the time
and not a lawyer. The legend also claims that Kimbro and Al Gore
became friends at Harvard, although Gore attended Harvard from 1965
through 1969, several years before Kimbro.
For more than 20 years, Kimbro was president and
CEO of Project MORE, a non-profit agency in New Haven that offers both
day programs and residence to ex-convicts, helping them to re-enter
The Rackley case and Kimbro's journey from murderer
to one who rehabilitates convicts were the subjects of a 2006 book,
Murder in the Model City: The Black Panthers, Yale and the Redemption
of a Killer by Paul Bass, editor of The New Haven Independent, and
Douglas Rae, professor of management and political science at the Yale
School of Management. (Basic Books, 304 pages).