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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Cop-killer David Gilbert granted parole 40 years after Brink’s robbery

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Former Weather Underground member David Gilbert has been granted parole four decades after he took part in the infamous Brink’s armored car robbery in Rockland County that left two Nyack cops and a security guard dead, the Department of Corrections announced Tuesday.

DOC spokesman Thomas Mailey said Gilbert appeared before the parole board Oct. 19 — one day before the 40th anniversary of the crime — and will be able to leave Shawangunk Correctional Facility in the Hudson Valley next month.

Gilbert, now 77, was convicted of three counts of second-degree murder and four counts of first-degree robbery for his role in the Oct. 20, 1981 holdup that led to the killings of Nyack police Sgt. Edward O’Grady and Officer Waverly Brown as well as Brink’s guard Peter Paige. He was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison in 1983, with no possibility of parole until 2056.

In one of his final acts while in office, disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo commuted Gilbert’s sentence to a minimum of 40 years time served and referred his case to the parole board, citing the onetime domestic terrorist’s “significant contributions to AIDS education and prevention programs” as well as his work as “a student tutor, law library clerk, paralegal assistant, a teacher’s aide, and an aide for various additional facility programs.”

Cuomo’s action followed a lobbying effort by Gilbert’s son, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, whose mother Kathy Boudin also took part in the robbery and was paroled in 2003. While his parents were incarcerated, Chesa Boudin was raised by their fellow Weather Underground members Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

“I am so grateful to the parole board and to everyone who has supported my father during his more than 40 years in prison,” Boudin told the Associated Press in an email. “I’m thinking about the other children affected by this crime and want to make sure that nothing I do or say further upsets the victims’ families. Their loved ones will never be forgotten.”

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin with his parents David Gilbert and Katherine Boudin.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin with his parents David Gilbert and Katherine Boudin.
Courtesy of Chesa Boudin via AP

Rockland County Executive Ed Day called Gilbert’s parole a “cruel and unjust slap in the face to the families” of those killed.

“Former Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Parole Board should be ashamed for allowing this domestic terrorist to walk free on our streets,” Day said. “There’s no reason that David Gilbert should not have to face the full consequences of his heinous crimes, no matter how much time has passed.”

Assembly member Michael Lawler (R-Pearl River) called the board’s decision “an absolute abomination” and said its members should “resign immediately in disgrace.”

“David Gilbert was part of a terrorist group that assassinated two police offices and a Brink’s security guard in one of the most heinous domestic terror attacks in New York State,” Lawler added. “He belongs in jail for the rest of his life. My heart breaks for the families and our community.”

Gilbert’s release was applauded by the Release Aging People in Prison Campaign, whose director said Gilbert had “been an unparalleled positive influence on the lives of countless incarcerated people.”

“The purpose of parole is to evaluate people for release based on who they are today, not to extend sentences into perpetuity,” Jose Saldana said in a statement, adding: “There is no doubt that he [Gilbert] will be an asset to his community.”

Last week, O’Grady’s widow Diane reflected on her husband’s murder during an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the Brink’s robbery.

“It has been said, ‘Time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree,” Diane O’Grady said, according to lohud.com. “The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”

With Post wires

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