NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Whether it’s outrage or elation, the decision to parole Judith Clark is sparking strong reactions throughout New York.
In Rockland County, where Clark played a major role in the infamous Brinks heist that killed the two police officers and a security guard, the wounds from 38 years ago are still fresh for some.
In the basement of the sheriff’s office, a display honors murdered Nyack police officers Waverly Brown and Ed O’Grady.
Brinks guard Peter Paige is also honored.
The mementos include glass from the Brinks truck, shattered by the terrorists’ shotgun blasts.
Also framed, the court order sentencing Clark to life in prison.
“This churns up all the emotions of that day,” Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco said.
Sheriff Falco was new to the force in 1981. In the years that followed, he escorted the suspects to and from court.
He closely tracks the fates of the self-styled radicals, who were members of the increasingly violent anti-war group The Weather Underground – founded in the 60’s.
Falco says Judith Clark was slow to give up her desire to overthrow the government.
“She took lives intentionally. Plotted and pre-planned. I just don’t believe that justice should be taken to this level and changed,” Falco told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
The person who changed that was Gov. Cuomo, who shortened Clark’s sentence to make her eligible for parole.
Cuomo’s appointees to the parole board then granted Clark freedom, citing her record helping others while in prison.
“What Judith Clark did was a terrible, terrible thing, but since 1985, 1986 she has devoted her life to – in effect – saying ‘I’m sorry, I want to rehabilitate myself,’” her attorney, Michael Cardozo said.
As for Clark’s co-conspirators, Kathy Boudin was paroled 15 years ago and works at Columbia University.
Nathaniel Burns – now called “Sekou Odinga” – was paroled in 2014 and lives in Brooklyn.
Donald Weems and Marilyn Buck died in prison, while Samuel Brown and David Gilbert are still behind bars.
The memories of Oct. 20th, 1981 have not faded.
Their deadly crimes are remembered the third week of every October at this memorial in Nyack.
Lawyers for Clark said she wants to work for a non-profit in Queens when she’s released, on or before May 15.