NEW YORK (FOX5 NY) - Judith Clark, 67, the get-away driver in a deadly Brinks armed car robbery in 1981, has made "tremendous progress" and is "a different person" after 35 years in prison, said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Clark has been allowed to go before the parole review board after Cuomo commuted her sentence.
"I am not releasing her, but I am giving her the opportunity to give her case. People change in 35 years," Cuomo told Fox 5 morning program 'Good Day New York.'
Clark, a former Weather Underground member, has served 35 years of the 75-years-to-life sentence for her role in the $1.6 million robbery at a mall in suburban Rockland County.
A security guard, Peter Paige, was killed during the heist, and less than an hour later, two Nyack police officers, Waverly Brown and Sgt. Edward O'Grady, were killed in an ambush after stopping a truck at a roadside checkpoint.
Cuomo noted that some of Clark's co-defendants served less time and that Clark has been a model prisoner.
The commutation will allow Clark to appear before the parole board in early 2017. Under her previous sentence, she would not have been eligible for parole consideration until she was 106.
"She should have the right to make that case," said Cuomo.
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, insisted on representing herself and then refused to go to court, remaining in a cell.
In a 2002 sworn statement, she expressed regret and said she had rejected her radical beliefs.
The governor's decision has outraged Michael Paige, whose father was killed in the robbery.
"For Gov. Cuomo to even think of commuting the sentence of a triple murderer who murdered police officers and my father -- that, to me, is the gravest form of injustice to these three men, who were killed standing their ground and protecting us," Paige said by phone.
With the Associated Press