ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Former radical activist Judith Clark has been granted parole after serving more than 37 years behind bars for her role as getaway driver in a 1981 Brinks armored truck robbery that left two police officers and a security guard dead.
Clark’s spokesman says her parole was approved Wednesday.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised Clark’s behavior as a model prisoner when he commuted her 75-years-to-life sentence in 2016 to make her eligible for parole. The 69-year-old inmate has trained service dogs, founded an AIDS education program and counseled mothers behind bars.
“I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped take care of my mother and me over the past thirty-eight years and who has helped to bring my mother home. My great hope is that the Parole Board continues to honor the work people do to transform their lives while in prison and lets more families’ loved ones come home,” Judith Clark’s daughter, Harriet said in a statement.
Clark had a parole hearing April 3 and presented support statements from more than 2,000 people, but some law enforcement officials and families of victims opposed her release. The $1.6 million Brink’s heist in suburban New York led to the shooting deaths of the three law enforcement officers.
The parole board first denied Clark’s release in 2017, saying she was “still a symbol of violent terroristic crime.”
“We are extremely disappointed with the decision of the parole board. Judith Clark is a cold-blooded cop killer who chose to participate in bank robbery, anarchy and murder that left three men dead. Because of her complete disregard for human life and the sheer brutality of the crime, parole should never have been granted for this convicted murderer,” acting Rockland County District Attorney Kevin Gilleece said Wednesday.
The Weather Underground was a 1960s group of increasingly violent anti-war activists. Clark, at the time of her trial, called herself a freedom fighter and insisted on representing herself. She then refused to go to court, remaining in a cell.
The union representing NYPD officers also slammed the decision, calling the 69-year-old a “murderer and a terrorist.”
“Because of her actions, three families have been permanently deprived of husbands, father and sons. Those families cannot escape their loss, but Judith Clark will be allowed to escape accountability for her crimes. That is not justice. The New York State Parole Board has proven once again that it does not value the rule of law or the sacrifices of the police officers who uphold those laws,” PBA President Patrick Lynch added.
In a 2002 sworn statement, she expressed regret and said she had rejected her radical beliefs.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)