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Dwight Armstrong and Drew Armstrong
Dwight Armstrong with his daughter Drew.

Dwight Armstrong, one of the men who bombed UW-Madison’s Sterling Hall in August 1970, killing a researcher, died Sunday in Madison after a battle with lung cancer. He was 58.

Spurred by anti-war furor, Armstrong was 18 years old when he, his older brother, Karl, and two others bombed the Army Math Research Center, a Defense Department project, in Sterling Hall on August 24, 1970. Robert Fassnacht, a 33-year-old researcher who was working late, was killed.

The incident served to dampen the anti-war movement as people recoiled at the bloodshed. Armstrong’s life following the bombing was troubled at times. He told The Capital Times in 1992: “My life has not been something to write home about.”

Armstrong spent seven years as a fugitive in Canada before he was captured in 1977 and convicted in the bombing. Karl Armstrong and David Fine were also convicted. A fourth man, Leo Burt, was never found.

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Armstrong was paroled from prison three years later, but in 1987, he was arrested for his involvement in an Indiana drug operation, according to newspaper clips.

In interviews, Armstrong expressed remorse for killing Fassnacht, but he said at the time it was the right thing to do.

“I mean, something had to be done, something dramatic, something that showed people were willing to escalate this at home as far as they were willing to escalate it in Vietnam,” he told The Capital Times in 1992.

Armstrong died at UW Hospital and is survived by his daughter, Drew; brother, Karl; and sisters, Lorene and Mira. Private services will be held.

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