I breathed a sigh of relief last week when I found out that Brinks killer Judith Clark will remain in prison for her role in the deaths of two Nyack police officers and a security guard.
But my relief didn’t last long. Here’s why: Judith Clark will appear before the Parole Board again. And again. And again.
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo decided – for whatever misguided reason – to commute the 75-year-to-life sentence of this cop-killer, he imposed another sentence.
The families of the three men who went to work on Oct. 20, 1981 and never came home are now sentenced to a lifetime of working to keep this killer where she belongs.
Every two years, or sooner, whenever Judith Clark appears before the Parole Board, these three families and all who were wounded that day in Nanuet and Nyack, will have to remember the nightmare.
The Brinks robbery was the day that a group of domestic terrorists with links to radical groups that wanted to overthrow this nation invaded Rockland County.
Overnight, Rockland went from being a quiet, bucolic suburb where nothing bad ever happened to being the center of a convoluted plot by a groups of terrorists pursuing a violent ideology that made sense only to them.
Judith Clark showed nothing but contempt for our society and our system of justice. Nonetheless, she was given a fair trial.
The sentencing judge found no reason to think that she could ever be rehabilitated. That judge knew how to do math: he knew that the sentence he imposed would not put her before the Parole Board until she was 107 years old.
Justice was done.
Then, due to the stroke of the governor’s pen, justice was undone.
The governor said he made his decision after an hour-long meeting with Judith Clark in prison.
As Clarkstown police Officer John Hanchar, nephew of Sgt. Edward O’Grady, said at the rally we held in January opposing her release, that was 60 minutes longer then he spent with any family members of the three men killed in cold blood that day.
Now O’Grady’s family, along with the family of Nyack Officer Waverly “Chipper” Brown and Brinks guard Peter Paige, will have to fight to keep Judith Clark.
For those families who have suffered so much already, this is essentially a life sentence.
Look at the hell that Lois Bohevesky, who is in her 80s, has to go through on a regular basis. The two miscreants who killed her 16-year-old daughter, Paula, 35 years ago as she walked home from the Pearl River Library have appeared before the Parole Board regularly since 2005.
Imagine that – her old age overshadowed by petitions and letters and checking the Parole Board calendar.
Awful that she – or anyone – has to go through this. Even more awful for our Brinks families because they were assured long ago that Judith Clark would never be eligible for parole.
One bit of solace for our Brinks families – they do not have to endure this agency alone. The law enforcement community both in Rockland and nationwide are with them, united in the belief that a convicted cop-killer does not deserve to walk among the free.
And I vow this now: as long as there is a breath in my body, I will stand united with these families and law enforcement to fight to keep Judith Clark where she belongs – in prison.