Former Weather Underground member denied parole in 1981 murder, robbery
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Kathy Boudin, a former member of the radical Weather Underground who was convicted of murder and robbery in a 1981 armored car heist, was denied parole Wednesday to the relief of law enforcement authorities.
Boudin, 58, has served 20 years of her 20 years-to-life sentence. It was her first appearance before the parole board, which ordered her held for at least two more years.
The board said the violent nature of Boudin’s crime would make her release ”incompatible with the welfare of society and would serve to deprecate the seriousness of the criminal behavior.”
A security guard and two police officers were killed in the robbery and shootout in suburban Rockland County, north of New York City. Boudin was part of the getaway team for six armed radicals who robbed the Brink’s truck of $1.6 million.
”I’m glad for everyone’s sake that justice is being served and she’s staying in,” said Diane O’Grady, the widow of Sgt. Edward O’Grady, one of the officers killed. ”We fought a very, very long, very arduous fight and we had tremendous support.”
Boudin, who is being held at the Bedford Hills prison outside New York City, had been considered a long-shot for parole given the notoriety of her crime and the fact that only about 5 percent of New York inmates serving time for murder are paroled when they are first eligible.
Her release had been opposed by relatives of the dead, by law enforcement officials and by Gov. George Pataki, who appoints the members of the parole board. He accused her of ”cowardly acts of terrorism in October of 1981 shattered so many innocent lives.”
Boudin, the daughter of civil rights attorney Leonard Boudin, became an antiwar activist in the 1960s. Before the Brink’s job, she had last been seen in 1970, naked, outside a townhouse in Greenwich Village, after a bomb that was being assembled there blew up and killed three members of the Weather Underground.
She later signed on with Black Liberation Army members and other radicals.
Supporters argued that Boudin turned her life around while in prison, working to help inmates with AIDS and earning a master’s degree in adult education. Boudin, who had a year-old son when arrested, also developed a program on parenting behind bars and helped write a handbook for inmates whose children are in foster care.
”It’s a sad day for Kathy,” said Leonard Weinglass, Boudin’s lawyer. ”She did her 20 years with honor. And for the system now not to keep its promise to someone who has been on exemplary behavior for two decades undermines respect for the law.”
Norma Hill, who witnessed the murder of the officers and later, as a prison volunteer, met and befriended Boudin, said she was ”deeply disappointed.”
”I feel optimistic that she will make it the next time, and I will continue to support her,” said Hill, whose eyewitness testimony two decades ago helped put Boudin behind bars.
”We’re convinced that justice was served,” Rockland County Sheriff Jim Kralik said. ”The penalty requires much more than just a minimum of 20 years for a well-thought-out, well-planned murder of police officers and a security officer.”
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