New York, NY – Convicted cop-killer and left-wing extremist Judith Clark will be released from prison in May, after a parole board member who is married to a convicted murderer cast the tie-breaking vote to grant her parole request.
Clark, 69, was originally sentenced to 75 years to life on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery for her role in a 1981 Brinks armored truck robbery, the New York Post reported.
Clark was 31 years old when she drove a getaway vehicle as part of a joint effort between Weather Underground offshoot group May 19th Communist Organization, and the Black Liberation Army to steal $1.6 million from the armored truck, The New York Times reported.
They planned to use the stolen cash to finance a guerrilla uprising, as well as the eventual formation of a separate black nation – the Republic of New Afrika – in the southern U.S.
Brink’s security guard Peter Paige was murdered during the robbery.
Nyack Police Sergeant Edward O’Grady and Officer Waverly Brown were fatally shot at a roadblock while they attempted to stop a U-Haul van involved in the heist.
Clark was defiant and uncooperative while she represented herself during her trial, and declared that the proceeding was “racist” and “fascist,” The New York Times reported.
She expressed no remorse for her offenses, and said she was “at war with America,” according to the New York Post.
In 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo granted Clark clemency for her crimes, due to what he referred to as her “exceptional strides in self-development.”
Cuomo’s move made Clark eligible for parole 37 years before she would have otherwise qualified.
Retired Nyack Police Detective Arthur Keenan, who was wounded during the Brink’s attack, said he has tried to schedule a meeting with the governor to discuss Clark’s case with him, The New York Times reported.
“The governor’s decision to grant clemency on this was so one-sided,” Det. Keenan said. “And he refuses to even speak with me about it. How can he ignore a police detective from the state of New York who was shot during this crime?”
He also refused to speak with other victims who have repeatedly tried to speak with him about Clark, the Times Union reported.
"For the governor to totally ignore the victims of the crime, I find that appalling," Det. Keenan said.
When Clark before the parole board in April of 2017, they unanimously denied her request to be released from prison, the New York Post reported.
Prior to her murder conviction, Clark had already been arrested for mob action, aiding escape, resisting arrest and aggravated battery, the board noted.
“We now find that your release at this time is incompatible with the welfare of society,” the board noted at the time. “You are a symbol of violent and terroristic crime.”
In response, Clark sued the parole board for denying her release.
The court ultimately ruled that she would not receive a new hearing, and that she would have to wait for her next opportunity, which came on April 3.
Parole board member Tana Agostini cast the tie-breaking two-to-one vote, which will result in Clark walking out of prison on May 15, the New York Post reported.
Agostini was appointed to the board by Cuomo in 2017.
In 2018, she married inmate Thomas O’Sullivan, who was serving 25 years to life for the murder of a Queens drug dealer.
Det. Keenan expressed outrage when he learned of the parole board’s decision, and argued that Agostini should never have been involved in the case.
“I’m very shocked that Agostini would be allowed to make a decision on someone who is a murderer,” he told the New York Post. “It’s a conflict of interest…She should have recused herself.”
Det. Keenan further noted that Clark was not simply the getaway driver – she was also a key player in planning and implementing the attack, the Times Union reported.
“You’re married to a convicted murderer who also got parole,” Paige’s son, Michael Paige, said in agreement, according to the New York Post. “How is that not related?”
“She would have some bias in making her decision in favor of parole,” Michael added. “It doesn’t smell right.”
But parole board spokesman Thomas Mailey defended Agostini in a statement to the New York Post.
“Tana Agostini was named to the New York State Board of Parole based on her extensive knowledge of the criminal-justice system gathered in part from her years of working for the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Correction,” Mailey said.
“To ignore her experience and attack her personal character — without any legitimate basis at all — is shameless and patently offensive,” he declared.