October 20, 2018

THE BRINK’S ROBBERY/TRIPLE MURDER WAS ON THIS DAY IN 1981: Please keep in your thoughts Brink’s guard Peter Paige and Nyack police officers Edward O’Grady and Waverly Brown (who was Nyack’s first African-American officer). All three were murdered in the course of the 1981 Brink’s heist. Also remember Brink’s guard Joseph Trombino, who was seriously wounded, but survived, only to be killed twenty years later on 9/11.

The perpetrators were six members of the Black Liberation Army and four former members of Weather Underground who had since formed the May 19th Communist Organization.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the trial of the first three defendants (one from the BLA and two from the M19CO):

Gilbert, Weems, and Clark were the first of the Brink’s robbers to go to trial. Because the BLA was known for attempting to break their members out of prison … massive security precautions were undertaken, turning the courthouse … into a heavily armed compound. … All three defendants declined assistance from defense lawyers and chose to represent themselves. Their contention was that since they did not recognize the authority of the United States, the government had no right to put them on trial. Throughout the trial, they repeatedly disrupted the proceedings by shouting anti-US slogans, proclaiming to be “at war” with the government and refusing to respect any aspect of the US legal system. They called the robbery an “expropriation” of funds that were needed to form a new country in a few select southern states that ideally would be populated only by African Americans.

Rockland County D.A. Kenneth Gribetz told reporters: “Our goal is to see that these people, who have contempt for society and have shown no remorse, will never see the streets of society again!” Judge Ritter apparently agreed. On October 6, 1983, he sentenced each defendant to three consecutive twenty-five year-to-life sentences, making them eligible for parole in the year 2058. After the trial, Weems claimed, “As to the seventy five years in prison, I am not really worried, not only because I am in the habit of not completing sentences or waiting on parole or any of that nonsense but also because the State simply isn’t going to last seventy five or even fifty years.” He died in prison from AIDS in 1986. Gilbert and Clark remain in prison. In September 2006, Clark was granted a new trial by a judge … in a district court on grounds that she had no representation at trial. On January 3, 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a unanimous decision, reversed the district court’s judgment granting a new trial. The Second Circuit panel noted that she chose to represent herself and defaulted any claim by failing to appeal until after the time for appeals had expired. In December 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo commuted Clark’s sentence to 35 years, citing “exceptional strides in self-development,” Clark is eligible for parole as of 2017.

M19CO member Kathy Boudin was tried, convicted, and sentenced to twenty years to life. She was paroled in 2003 and later hired by Columbia University, where she is now an assistant professor and co-founder/co-director of Columbia’s Center for Justice. Peter Paige, Edward O’Grady, and Waverly Brown could not be reached for comment.

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