Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2001
Parole Denied for Radical Kathy Boudin
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sixties radical Kathy Boudin, serving 20 years to life
in prison for her role in a deadly 1981 armored truck robbery, was denied
parole on Wednesday after people wrote 35,000 letters opposing her request.
Boudin, 58, a former member of the revolutionary Weather Underground group,
pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after the robbery in Nanuet in
suburban Rockland County north of New York City, in which a security guard
and two police officers were shot dead by gunmen.
Boudin received the ruling from the New York State parole board after an
interview. The board noted her "positive" disciplinary and program records
-- she helped develop programs for AIDS victims, incarcerated mothers and
inmates seeking college degrees.
But the board said "that due to the violent nature and circumstances of the
offenses, your release at this time would be incompatible with the welfare of
society." It added that setting Boudin free "would serve to deprecate the
seriousness of the criminal behavior herein so as to undermine respect for
New York State Division of Parole spokesman Thomas Grant said Boudin would
be held for at least two more years until she becomes eligible to apply for
parole again in August 2003.
Her application for parole, the first she was allowed to make in two
decades of imprisonment, was strongly opposed by relatives of the three
dead men. A letter-writing campaign produced 35,000 objections to the
possibility of parole, officials said.
Her supporters argued that Boudin should be released because she was a
In the Oct. 20, 1981, robbery of $1.6 million from a Brink's truck, members
of the Black Liberation Army, a splinter group of the Black Panthers, held
up the truck and killed a guard. The money was transferred to another truck
in which Boudin was waiting.
That vehicle was stopped by police on an approach to the New York State
Thruway. Boudin, whose own group had disbanded years earlier, surrendered,
but gunmen burst out of the truck and opened fire, killing two police
Boudin grew up in Manhattan, the daughter of leftist parents. In college,
she became involved with Students for a Democratic Society and then its
militant offshoot, the Weather Underground.
By 1970 she had gone underground, using an assumed name after surviving an
explosion in a Greenwich Village townhouse where other members of the group
had been making bombs.
In an interview with The New York Times last week at the Bedford Hills
Correctional Facility in Westchester County just north of New York, Boudin
did not minimize her crime or guilt, the newspaper said.
The New Yorker magazine, in an article published in July, quoted Boudin as
saying, "I was responsible for not being responsible."
Read The New York State Parole Board's Decision [PDF]
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