Rockland Officials To Cuomo: Don’t Free Brinks Robbery Getaway Driver

3 People Were Killed In Infamous 1981 Heist At Nanuet Mall

NEW CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Law enforcement officials in Rockland County are sending a message to Gov. Andrew Cuomo: do not grant clemency to Judith Clark, a getaway driver in the infamous 1981 Brinks robbery.

The Rockland County district attorney’s office said paperwork arrived from Cuomo’s office about a possible commutation of Clark’s sentence. The DA’s office said it will oppose her release.

“It was a case of domestic terrorism. It was a carefully planned and executed crime and she was right at the center of the planning and execution,” Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe told CBS2’s Lou Young.

Clark, 64, was sentenced to 75 years in prison for her role in the Oct. 20. 1981, armored truck heist, which left a guard and two police officers dead. She’s not eligible for parole until 2056

Some of the robbers were involved with the Black Liberation Army, while others were former members of the Weather Underground radical group who had since joined up with the May 19th Communist Organization, according to published reports.

The group staged a broad-daylight robbery of $1.6 million from a Brinks armored vehicle at the Nanuet Mall.

Guard Peter Paige was killed, and guard Joseph Trombino was seriously injured in the robbery.

Afterward, the group fatally shot two Nyack police officers – Edward J. O’Grady Jr. and Waverly Brown.

South Nyack Police Chief Brent Newbury said Tuesday that Cuomo should consider the families of those killed.

“They live with that every day,” Newbury told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams. “It’s not something that they get clemency from, they don’t get rehabilitated from.

“There were people (with) lives lost, and there were a lot of people whose lives were affected,” he added. “And Judith Clark was a direct influence on all of that.”

Without clemency, Clark’s sentence amounts to life without parole. But to a friend of the fallen that seems just fine.

“The fact that she did good work while in prison is admirable but she needs to serve the sentence that she received,” said former Nyack Police Chief Robert Van Cura.

Clark’s supporters say she has repented and has performed many charitable acts in prison.

“You cannot ever undo what you’ve done, but the whole purpose of the criminal justice system is for people to become rehabilitated,” said Clark’s attorney Sara Bennett. “And Judy is emblematic of somebody who has not only rehabilitated themselves but helped so many other people become rehabilitated.”

Clark’s backers point to another woman who pleaded guilty in the heist, former Weather Underground member Kathy Boudin, who was paroled in 2003. Like Clark, she also fired no weapons during the robbery, but acted as a lookout and decoy, Young reported.

Boudin became an adjunct professor at Columbia University after she was paroled. But critics said the ex-con turned teacher used her position as a soapbox to push for the release of three people jailed for the deadly heist.

Despite the controversy, Boudin remains on the adjunct faculty at the Columbia University School of Social Work.

The clemency request, along with a recommendation from the governor’s legal staff will be on Gov. Cuomo’s desk Friday. The decision is his alone.

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