Outrage as man who sexually assaulted, brutally murdered 16-year-old New York girl set to walk free
Richard LaBarbera, 66, who was sentenced to 25 years to life for the 1980 stabbing death of Paula Bohovesky, is set for an imminent release
Hundreds have taken to the streets of a suburban New York town to protest the imminent release of a convicted killer whose 1980 murder of a teenage girl left the country in shock.
Protestors marched silently through the town of Pearl River, along the same path where 16-year-old Paula Bohovesky was beaten, sexually assaulted, and stabbed to death, in a plea to Governor Andrew Cuomo to block the release of her killer, Richard LaBarbera, according to Fox News.
LaBarbera and another man, Robert McCain, were convicted of second-degree murder in the killing of the teen as she walked home from her part-time job at the library on October 28, 1980, in the small town, located 30 miles north of New York City.
Bohovesky, an aspiring actress, was one block from her parents' house when the pair, both of whom had been drinking at a nearby bar, noticed her crossing at an intersection and decided to attack her.
McCain crushed the right side of her skull with a chunk of pavement he grabbed from the ground before dragging her behind an abandoned home and sexually assaulting her as LaBarbera watched on.
Police said, at that point, LaBarbera thought she was dead and tried to sexually assault her, only to find to his surprise that she was alive. He proceeded to kill her by stabbing her five times in the back.
Both men were sentenced to 25 years to life, which was the toughest sentence for the charge in the state at the time.
Last month, a parole board of Cuomo appointees informed Bohovesky's family that LaBarbera, now 66, will be released in July.
McCain, 58, will be appearing before the parole board next week in the hope of a similar decision. Both have been denied parole on seven previous occasions after first becoming eligible in 2005.
Unsurprisingly, the decision is one that has not sat well with Bohovesky's family or with victim advocates, state lawmakers, and the town which was witness to the gruesome murder.
"Neither one of them has taken responsibility and neither one of them has shown remorse," said Lois Bohovesky, Paula's mother.
Speaking about the decision in front of 500-odd people gathered in front of Pearl Harbor's gazebo, Rockland County Executive Ed Day said, "The justice provided by the court for Paula, her family, her friends, and the Pearl River community has been stolen."
"Governor Cuomo, you must take the necessary steps to have the parole board reverse its decision immediately," he continued. "For reasons not made known, a broken parole system that was charged to be a purveyor of justice has instead become a perversion of justice."
It is indeed a situation that Cuomo can change, with New York—along with Maryland, Oklahoma, and California—one of four states where governors are bestowed with the power to reverse a parole board's decision.
George Pataki, the former New York governor, said Cuomo should change the parole board's "horrible decision" as it represented what was essentially a "gross injustice," and that granting parole to Bohovesky's killers was an "outrage."