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Celebrating freedom for a murderess

Two years ago, the New York State Parole Board ruled that freeing convicted murderess Kathy Boudin, formerly of the Weather Underground, would – in their words – “be incompatible with the welfare of society and would serve to deprecate the seriousness of her criminal behavior … so as to undermine respect for the law.”

Ms. Boudin, an honors graduate of Bryn Mawr, is the daughter of one of the far left’s cleverest attorneys, Leonard Boudin.

After her participation in the 1981 Brinks armored car robbery in Nyack, N.Y., and the shootout that killed a guard and two police officers, her father copped a plea in which she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and averted a 75-year prison sentence. Instead, she was sentenced to 20 years-to-life – when it surely should have been life. Now, after 22 years, she is to be paroled.

The 21-member parole board has refused to reverse the granting of parole to Boudin by two of their members, whom the New York Times identify as blacks: Daizzee D. Bouey and Vernon C. Manley who, the Times noted, seemed to express understanding about what she described as her confused state of mind at the time of the crime, her deep feelings of guilt for being white and her deep desire to prove that she was committed to helping blacks.

The two commissioners sometimes finished her sentences or tried to sum up her testimony, according to the transcript. At one point, as she described the kinship she had felt with Civil War abolitionists, Commissioner Bouey interrupted, “You should write a book, or write something.”

Boudin told the commissioners she had a warped view of the world when she agreed to be a decoy in the getaway van for a group of black militants who claimed they wanted to steal from a Rockland County bank to help poor black neighborhoods. At the time, she said she felt guilty not only for being white and from a privileged background, but for having done so little for the cause she tried to dedicate herself to in the ’60s. Before the robbery, she spent 11 years living under false names, on the run from minor charges related to a violent Chicago demonstration in 1969.

“I thought as a white person involved in supporting a struggle that was essentially a black struggle that it was wrong for me to know anything,” she said.

“Why?” Commissioner Bouey asked.

“Because that’s the highest level of …” Ms. Boudin began.

“Commitment?” Commissioner Bouey asked.

“Commitment,” Ms. Boudin said.

Gov. George E. Pataki immediately denounced the board’s determination. “It is not a decision that should have been made,” he said. “It is not a decision I would have made. The murder of a police officer is a horrific crime and one that should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.” Aides to Mr. Pataki, who appointed both commissioners, said his hands were tied under the probation law.

Officer John Hanchar, a nephew of Sgt. Edward O’Grady, one of the two police officers killed, noted that the decision was handed down on what would have been the sergeant’s 55th birthday.

“People say she’s been such a great person in prison,” said Officer Hanchar, who works for the Clarkstown Police Department in Rockland County and now patrols the intersection where his uncle was shot. “We don’t know what great things these three men would have accomplished had they not been killed.”

Ms. Boudin had belonged to the Weather Underground, one of the most notorious revolutionary groups from the 1960s. An offshoot of Students for a Democratic Society, it took responsibility for at least 20 bombings from 1969 to 1975. Its targets included Police Headquarters in Manhattan in 1970, the United States Capitol in 1971 and the State Department in 1975.

When she was captured minutes after the murders of the police officers, she was a fugitive from an explosion 11 years earlier in a Greenwich Village townhouse that the Weathermen had used as a bomb factory. Three Weathermen died in the blast. She was also wanted on a bail-jumping charge in connection with the Days of Rage anti-war demonstrations in Chicago in 1969.

The news that Kathy Boudin had been paroled reopened wounds for the families and friends of Sgt. O’Grady and the other two shooting victims, Officer Waverly Brown of the Nyack Police Department, and Peter Paige, a Brink’s guard.

“Her people are out having cocktails and celebrating her parole,” said Hanchar, 33, of Congers, N.Y. “Maybe as they’re celebrating, they can take a minute to remember there are three dead people here.”

“We’re devastated,” said Hanchar. “The fact that an unrepentant killer can now breathe free air – despite her actions as a participant in a terrorist criminal conspiracy that resulted in the death of three innocent men – defies logic.”

“This crime was so horrific,” said Michael E. Bongiorno, the district attorney for Rockland County, where the crime took place. “Just because you have been a choirboy in prison doesn’t mean you should be paroled no matter how awful the crime. This is a perfect example of that.”

In Florida, when told by the New York Post that Ms. Boudin’s Rhodes Scholar son, Chesa, said his mother would like to apologize, O’Grady’s widow, Diane O’Grady, said that neither she nor anyone in her family would ever meet with Boudin.

“Nor will I accept an apology,” O’Grady said “She can’t change or undo any of the evil things she caused. I will never consider it. I would never do that to my husband’s memory.”

O’Grady said she doesn’t believe Boudin is sincere and complained that the public way in which she and her family are celebrating her pending release is “hurtful, painful and offensive.”

“It’s so heart wrenching,” O’ Grady said. “It’s nothing to celebrate. Nine children are still without fathers, and three men are still gone.”

What if the Fraternal Order of Police called for volunteers from all over the Eastern Seaboard to donate 12 hours following this cop-killer wherever she goes, in order to save more lives. Could a court order terminate such protest?

This might deter all decent citizens of New York from having anything to do with this lethal creature who surely should be behind bars for the rest of her life; just as Gov. Pataki should immediately fire this entire parole board.