- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 21, 2003

From combined dispatches

New York’s decision Wednesday to parole left-wing terrorist Kathy Boudin — who was denied parole twice in the past two years — shocked relatives, friends and colleagues of the three men killed in a 1981 armored-car heist.

“Today’s Eddie’s birthday. He would have been 55 years old, so it’s especially difficult,” said Edward O’Grady, whose uncle, police Sgt. Ed O’Grady, was gunned down with M-16s after Boudin helped spring an ambush while her gang made its getaway from a robbery in Nyack, N.Y.

Boudin, 60, a founder of the Weather Underground, was denied parole in 2001 and again three months ago.

“I didn’t expect this, since the parole board was very strong in its opinion just three months ago as to keeping her incarcerated,” said Detective Lt. Jim Stewart, of the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office in New York.

Thomas Grant, a spokesman for the state Division of Parole, said Boudin would be released from prison by Oct. 1 after her plans for parole supervision are set.

“I just hope Boudin is sincere in her claim to be a changed woman and no other family has to suffer like ours did,” said Rockland County Officer John Hanchar, a nephew of Sgt. O’Grady. “I’m a cop now, and I patrol the same street where he died.”

The daughter of a prominent New York lawyer, Boudin became a radical while a Bryn Mawr College undergraduate in the 1960s.

She and her boyfriend, fellow Weather Underground terrorist David Gilbert, were both fugitives at the time of the 1981 heist. Boudin had fled after surviving the 1970 bomb-making explosion that killed three of her comrades in New York’s Greenwich Village; Gilbert had skipped bail in Colorado on charges of assault and possessing explosives.

The couple were recruited for the $1.6 million Brinks heist by a terrorist gang called the Black Liberation Army, also known as “The Family,” that committed 19 robberies to fund its plans for Marxist revolution. The BLA apparently wanted white people driving the getaway vehicle, a U-Haul truck, to throw off pursuers.

BLA terrorists armed with M-16s and shotguns murdered Brinks guard Peter Paige and wounded another guard outside a shopping mall. Sgt. O’Grady and Officer Waverly “Chipper” Brown were fatally shot as Boudin and her BLA comrades attempted to escape.

Four officers at a roadblock on a highway overpass stopped the U-Haul. Gilbert was driving. Boudin was in the passenger seat. She got out of the truck, raised her hands and pleaded with police to lower their weapons.

“Put the shotgun back. I don’t think it’s them,” Sgt. O’Grady said to fellow officers. Then BLA members in the back of the U-Haul opened fire with the M-16s, killing Sgt. O’Grady and Officer Brown — the only black member of the 22-member Nyack police force — and wounding Detective Artie Keenan.

Boudin was caught as she fled the scene. She pleaded guilty to felony murder and robbery and was sentenced to 20 years to life.

Boudin’s son, Chesa, was 1 when she was arrested. He was raised by Weather Underground founders Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn and graduated from Yale University in May.

Prison officials described Boudin as a model inmate, but she was denied parole at a court-ordered hearing in May. Parole was granted by two members of the 19-member state parole board after an interview with Boudin on Wednesday at the Bedford Hills state prison.

A little-used provision of New York state law still allows the board to reconsider the decision to free her, Mr. Grant said yesterday.

Boudin was “hysterically happy” to be paroled, said her attorney, Leonard Weinglass. “What I heard on the phone were screaming and crying.”

“I would say there was a lot of crying on our side, too,” said Officer Hanchar, who was 10 when Boudin’s gang killed his uncle.

“Has she ever apologized? No,” said Officer Hanchar. “Her supporters have tried to minimize her role in this. To this day, she’s never come forward and said, ‘I was wrong.’ Instead, she makes excuses.”

Brent Newbury, president of the Rockland County Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said he was surprised by the ruling.

“Rather than be bitter about it, we’re just going to hope the parole board made the right decision,” he said.

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