FORMER Weather Underground member Kathy Boudin denied parole

Wednesday, August 22nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Kathy Boudin, a former member of the radical Weather Underground who was convicted of murder and robbery in a 1981 armored car heist, was denied parole Wednesday to the relief of New York law enforcement officials.

It was Boudin's first appearance before the parole board. She was ordered held for at least two more years.

Boudin, 58, has served 20 years of her 20 years-to-life sentence.

``It's a sad day for Kathy,'' said Leonard Weinglass, Boudin's lawyer. ``She did her 20 years with honor. And for the system now not to keep its promise to someone who has been on exemplary behavior for two decades undermines respect for the law.''

A security guard and two police officers were killed in the robbery and shootout in suburban Rockland County, north of New York City. Boudin was part of the getaway team for six armed radicals who robbed the Brink's truck of $1.6 million.

Parole officials interviewed Boudin at the Bedford Hills prison for women.

Linda Foglia, a spokeswoman for the state prison system, said Boudin has had only three minor discipline infractions during her 17 years in prison, none since 1989.

Supporters argued that Boudin turned her life around while in prison, working to help inmates with AIDS and earning a master's degree in adult education.

Boudin, who had a year-old son when arrested, also developed a program on parenting behind bars and helped write a handbook for inmates whose children are in foster care.

But the board, while noting her good behavior, said the violent nature of Boudin's crime would make her release ``incompatible with the welfare of society.''

Boudin's parole had been opposed by relatives of the dead, by law enforcement officials and by Gov. George Pataki, who appoints the members of the parole board.

``Please know that I, too, am strongly opposed to the release of Ms. Boudin, whose cowardly acts of terrorism in October of 1981 shattered so many innocent lives,'' the governor wrote in a May 23 letter to Diane O'Grady, the widow of Sgt. Edward O'Grady.