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Transcript: Judith Clark remorseful for deadly Brinks heist

By MARY ESCHJune 26, 2019

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — After her first bid for release from prison was denied, former radical Judith Clark spent the next two years focusing on the seriousness of her crime, the suffering of her victims and any reparations she could make, she said in her second interview before New York’s parole board.

Clark, 69, left prison on parole in May after serving nearly 38 years for her role as getaway driver in a 1981 Brink’s armored truck robbery in suburban New York. The robbery left two police officers and a security guard dead.

In a 98-page transcript of her parole hearing released Wednesday, Clark said the time since her first parole bid was denied in 2017 was “the hardest two years I’ve ever done” because her hopes of release had been raised. Clark was serving a sentence of 75 years to life in prison when Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo granted her clemency in 2016.

In approving her release, the parole board said “there is ample evidence of rehabilitation, remorse and transformation” and that “your release is compatible with the welfare of the overall community.”

Among factors cited by the board supporting release was Clark’s work in prison, including decades of mentoring new mothers, efforts to secure college services for inmates, and many years training service dogs for veterans and law enforcement.

The board also noted Clark’s expressions of remorse including letters of apology published in newspapers in 1994 and 2002 and a more recent letter apologizing to victims and their families through the prison system’s “apology letter bank.”

She told the board she wrote the apology bank letter “as though each of the people who have lost their husbands and lost their fathers, or who themselves were maimed and terrorized that day, was sitting in front of me.”

Clark talked to the board about working with first responders who were going to handle dogs she had trained. “One of them talked about surviving a situation where his partner was killed, and I remember going back to my unit that night and just weeping, because, you know, it was — it was hearing the voice of my own victims.”

While Clark received extensive media coverage as supporters sought her release, she told the board she doesn’t plan to be a public figure because she realizes there are still “bruised feelings in the victim community.” She said she needs to work several more years to be eligible for Social Security and wants to rebuild her relationship with her daughter Harriet, whom she left behind as a baby when she entered prison.

One of the three parole board members dissented on Clark’s release. Commissioner Walter William Smith cited the violence of the crime and the loss felt by families and loved ones of the slain police officers and security guard. “The sounds of their weeping will remain,” Smith wrote.

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