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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: American far left radical - Armed robbery
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: October 20, 1981
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: May 19, 1943
Victims profile: Peter Paige (security guard) / Sgt. Edward O'Grady and Officer Waverly Brown (policemen)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Nanuet, New York, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. Released on September 17, 2003

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Kathy Boudin (born May 19, 1943) is an American far left radical who was convicted in 1984 of felony murder for her participation in an armed robbery that resulted in the killing of two police officers and a security guard. She was released from prison in 2003. She is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University.

Early life and family

Kathy Boudin was born on May 19, 1943, into a Jewish family with a long left-wing history, and she was raised in Greenwich Village, New York. Her great-uncle was Louis B. Boudin, a Marxist theorist. Her father, attorney Leonard Boudin, had represented such controversial clients as Judith Coplon, Fidel Castro, and Paul Robeson. A National Lawyers Guild attorney, Leonard Boudin was the law partner of Victor Rabinowitz, himself counsel to numerous left-wing organizations. Kathy’s older brother, Michael Boudin, is currently a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She is journalist I.F. Stone's niece.

Kathy Boudin attended kindergarten at the Little Red School House and its high school, the Elisabeth Irwin High School in Manhattan. Although she went to Bryn Mawr College intending to prepare for medical school, her interests quickly turned to politics. 1965, her last year at Bryn Mawr was spent studying in the Soviet Union. She was paid 75 rubles a month by the Soviet government and, according to her résumé, taught on a Soviet collective farm. Kathy Boudin also attended receptions and functions with her parents at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations in New York. She also attended Case Western Reserve University School of Law for one year.

Weather Underground

In the 1960s and 1970s, Boudin became heavily involved with the Weather Underground. The Weathermen bombed the Pentagon, the US Capitol, the New York Police Benevolent Association, the New York Board of Corrections, as well as the offices of multinational companies. Boudin, along with Cathy Wilkerson, was a survivor of the 1970 Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, the premature detonation of a nail bomb that had been intended for a soldiers' dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Boudin was 27 at the time. Both women were awaiting trial, out on bond for their alleged actions in Days of Rage in Chicago several months earlier. Wilkerson had been released on a $20,000 bond and Boudin was out on a $40,000 bond.

A declassified FBI report on foreign contacts of the Weather Underground Organization produced by the FBI’s Chicago Field Office reported that, "On February 10, 1976, a source in a position to possess such information advised that Leonard Boudin ... had indicated to a friend that Kathie [sic] was presently in Cuba." The law firm of Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman, P.C., provide legal representation for the Cuban government in the United States.

1981 Brinks Robbery

In 1981, when Kathy Boudin was 38 years old, she and several members of the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army robbed a Brinks armored car at the Nanuet Mall, in Nanuet, New York. After Boudin dropped her infant son, Chesa, at a baby sitter's, she took the wheel of the getaway vehicle, a U-Haul truck. She waited in a nearby parking lot as her heavily armed accomplices took another vehicle to a local mall where a Brinks truck was making a delivery. They confronted the guards and gunfire immediately broke out, severely wounding guard Joe Trombino and killing his co-worker, Peter Paige. The four then took $1.6 million in cash and rendezvoused with Boudin.

An alert high-school student called the police after spotting the gang abandoning the getaway vehicle and entering the U-Haul. A police officer spotted and pulled over the U-Haul, but they could see only Boudin in the driver's seat. Boudin then got out of the cab, and raised her hands.

The police officers who caught them testified that Boudin, feigning innocence, pleaded with them to put down their guns and got them to drop their guard; Boudin said she remained silent, that the officers relaxed spontaneously. After the police lowered their weapons, six of the men in the back of the truck armed with automatic weapons came out of the back of the truck, surprising the four police officers, one of whom, Waverly Brown, was killed instantly. Boudin and David Gilbert, a Weatherman radical and the father of Boudin's infant son, allegedly acted as decoys as well as getaway drivers: The Brinks robbers the police were searching for were all from the Black Liberation Army and drove a red car. Officer Edward O'Grady lived long enough to empty his revolver, but as he reloaded, he was shot several times with an M16. Ninety minutes later, he died in hospital. The other two officers escaped with only minor injuries. The occupants of the U-Haul scattered, some climbing into another getaway car, others carjacking a nearby motorist while Boudin attempted to flee on foot. An off-duty corrections officer, Michael J. Koch, apprehended her shortly after the shootout. When she was arrested, Boudin gave her name as Barbara Edson.

Three other Black Liberation Army members failed to escape that day. Weathermen Gilbert, Samuel Brown, and Judith Alice Clark crashed their car while making a sharp turn, and were arrested by police. Two days later, Samuel Smith and Nathaniel Burns were spotted in a car in New York. After a gunfight with police that left Smith dead, Burns was captured. Three more participants were arrested several months later.

The majority of the defendants received three consecutive sentences of 25 years to life, making them eligible for parole in the year 2058. Boudin hired Leonard Weinglass to defend her. Weinglass, a law partner of Boudin's father, arranged for a plea bargain and Boudin pled guilty to one count of felony murder and robbery, in exchange for one twenty-year to life sentence.


Boudin was incarcerated in the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in New York where she worked with AIDS patients and in adult education. While there, she had a central role in creating five formal programs:

  • the Teen Program, supporting teens and pre-teens whose mothers are incarcerated, strengthening the mother-child bond during their separation, and helping the teens become positive, healthy, young adults;

  • the Parent Education Program, helping inmate mothers to learn to be responsible parents to pre-school, grade school and teenage children while separated by prison;

  • the Adult Literacy Program, which used an innovative curriculum that Boudin wrote, was an outgrowth of the work she did for her Masters Degree in Adult Education, earned while at Bedford Hills;

  • the AIDS and Women’s Health Program is the first peer community health program devoted to AIDS among prisoners; and

  • the College Program, which provided courses and degrees to incarcerated women. Boudin helped organize a consortium of private colleges to offer this program after New York State cut all public funding for higher education in prisons.

While incarcerated, Boudin published articles in the Harvard Educational Review ("Participatory Literacy Education Behind Bars: AIDS Opens the Door," Summer 1993, 63(2)), in Breaking the Rules: Women in Prison and Feminist Therapy by Judy Harden and Marcia Hill ("Lessons from a Mother's Program in Prison: A Psychosocial Approach Supports Women and Their Children," published simultaneously in Women and Therapy, 21), and in Breaking the Walls of Silence: AIDS and Women in a New York State Maximum-Security Prison.

She co-authored The Foster Care Handbook for Incarcerated Parents published by Bedford Hills in 1993. She co-edited Parenting from inside/out: Voices of mothers in prison, jointly published by correctional institutions and the Osborne Foundation.

Boudin also wrote and published poetry while incarcerated, publishing in books and journals including the PEN Center Prize Anthology Doing Time, Concrete Garden 4, and Aliens at the Border. She won an International PEN prize for her poetry in 1999.

Boudin continued to pursue her education as a doctoral student at the City University of New York (CUNY), which included participation in the CUNY Graduate Center research team that produced the study Changing Minds: The Impact of College in a Maximum-Security Prison.

Boudin and Gilbert's son Chesa Boudin was adopted by former Weatherman leaders Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.


Boudin was granted parole on August 20, 2003 in her third parole hearing, and released from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility on September 17, 2003. She accepted a job in the H.I.V./AIDS Clinic at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, meeting the work provisions of parole that required active job prospects.

A controversy arose as the victim's family and others disputed whether she was truly contrite for her crime or instead was masking her radical politics in order to gain her freedom. Supporting this allegation was a statement, years earlier, from William Kunstler, a law partner of Leonard Weinglass, Boudin's attorney. Kunstler had explained Boudin's evolution from political activist to violent revolutionary: “I went to Bedford Hills penitentiary a few weeks ago and talked to Kathy Boudin. Kathy had reached a point where she thought, along with others, that non-violence was ineffective, and that you have to take the next step, into violence.”

In May 2004, after her parole, Boudin published in the Fellowship of Reconciliation's publication Fellowship. Subsequently, she received an Ed. D. from Columbia University Teachers College. In addition to her work at St. Luke's-Roosevelt, Dr. Boudin has worked as a consultant to the Osborne Association in the development of a Longtermers Responsibility Project taking place in the New York State Correctional Facilities utilizing a restorative practice approach. She has also consulted for Vermont Corrections, the Women’s Prison Association, and supervises social workers.

Columbia University professor

She is presently an adjunct professor at Columbia University School of Social Work, a controversial appointment.


The Brink's robbery of 1981 was an armed robbery committed on October 20, 1981, which was carried out by Black Liberation Army members Jeral Wayne Williams (aka Mutulu Shakur), Donald Weems (aka Kuwasi Balagoon), Samuel Brown (aka Solomon Bouines), Samuel Smith, Nathaniel Burns (aka Sekou Odinga), and Cecilio "Chui" Ferguson; several former members of the Weather Underground, now belonging to the May 19th Communist Organization, including David Gilbert, Judith Alice Clark, Kathy Boudin, and Marilyn Buck; and an unknown number of accomplices.

They stole $1.6 million from a Brink's armored car at the Nanuet Mall, in Nanuet, New York, killing two police officers, Edward O'Grady and Waverly Brown (the second African American member of the Nyack, New York police department) and a Brink's guard, Peter Paige.


The robbery began with Boudin dropping off her infant son, Chesa Boudin, at a babysitter's before taking the wheel of the getaway vehicle, a U-Haul truck. She waited in a nearby parking lot as her heavily armed accomplices drove a red van to the Nanuet Mall, where a Brink's truck was making a pick-up.

At 3:55 pm, Brink's guards Peter Paige and Joe Trombino emerged from the mall carrying bags of money. As they loaded the money into the truck, the robbers stormed out of their van and attacked. One fired two shotgun blasts into the van's bulletproof windshield, while another opened fire with an M16 rifle. Paige was hit multiple times and killed instantly. Trombino was able to fire a single shot from his handgun, but was struck in the shoulder and arm by several rounds, nearly severing his arm from his body. The criminals grabbed $1.6 million in cash, got back in their van, and fled the scene.

Trombino survived his injuries, and continued to work for the Brink's company for the next 20 years; he was killed at age 68, while making a Brink's delivery in the September 11 attacks.

Car swap

After fleeing the scene, the robbers drove to the parking lot where a yellow Honda and the U-Haul truck, manned by members of the May 19 Communist Organization, were waiting. The robbers quickly threw the bags of money into the car and truck and sped away. In a house across the street, an alert college student spotted them as they switched vehicles and called the police.

Meanwhile, police units from all over the county were converging on the mall where the shootout occurred and attempting to cut off all possible escape routes. Soon police officers Edward O'Grady, Waverly Brown, Brian Lennon, and Artie Keenan spotted and pulled over the U-Haul truck, with David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin in the front seats, along with the yellow Honda at an entrance ramp to the New York State Thruway off New York State Route 59. The police were not sure if they had the right truck, since it had been reported that the robbers were all black-skinned, while the occupants of this vehicle were white-skinned (a deliberate part of the original plan by the robbers, hoping to fool the police). But since the truck matched the description of the getaway vehicle they were looking for, the officers pulled it over and approached with guns drawn.

Second gunfight

The police officers who caught them testified that Boudin, feigning innocence, pleaded with them to put down their guns and convinced them to drop their guard; Boudin said she remained silent, that the officers relaxed spontaneously. After the police lowered their guns, six men armed with automatic weapons and wearing body armor emerged from the back of the truck and began firing upon the four police officers. Officer Brown was hit repeatedly by rifle rounds and collapsed on the ground. One robber then walked up to his prone body and fired several more shots into him with a 9mm handgun, ensuring his death. Keenan was shot in the leg, but managed to duck behind a tree and return fire.

Officer O'Grady lived long enough to empty his revolver, but as he reloaded, he was shot several times with an M16. Ninety minutes later, he died on a hospital operating table. Meanwhile Lennon, who was in his cruiser when the shootout began, tried to exit out the front passenger door, but O'Grady's body was wedged up against the door. He watched as the suspects jumped back into the U-Haul and sped directly towards him. Lennon fired his shotgun several times at the speeding truck as it collided with his police car.

The occupants of the U-Haul scattered, some climbing into the yellow Honda, others carjacking a nearby motorist while Boudin attempted to flee on foot. An off-duty corrections officer apprehended her shortly after the shootout. When she was arrested, Boudin gave her name as Barbara Edson.


Three other suspects failed to escape. May 19 Communists Chris Dobbs, Samuel Brown, and Judith Alice Clark crashed the Honda while making a sharp turn. South Nyack police chief Alan Colsey was the only officer initially at the scene of the crash, but he managed to hold them at gun point until backup arrived. After that, all three were arrested. Inside the car, police found $800,000 from the robbery and a 9mm handgun on the floor of the back seat.

Police traced the license plate on one of the getaway vehicles to an apartment in New Jersey. Inside, the police found weapons, bomb-making materials, and detailed blueprints of six Manhattan police precincts. Investigations later revealed the apartment was rented by Marilyn Buck, another former Weatherman turned May 19 Communist who had been previously arrested for providing weapons to the BLA. She had been sentenced to 10 years in prison, but in 1977 she was granted furlough and never returned.

While at the apartment, police also found papers that listed an address in Mt. Vernon, New York, a small city in Westchester County about 20 miles from the mall where the robbery occurred. When police raided that apartment, they found bloody clothing, ammunition, more guns and ski masks. Investigation later revealed that the bloody clothing belonged to Buck, who had accidentally shot herself in the leg when she tried to draw her weapon during the shootout with the police.

All the plates on the vehicles seen near the Mt. Vernon address were entered into the NCIC system. Two days later, NYPD detectives spotted a 1978 Chrysler with a license plate that had been seen at the Mt. Vernon Apartment. The vehicle, driven by Samuel Smith and Sekou Odinga, fled from the police when they tried to pull it over. After the vehicle crashed, the two occupants engaged the police in a gunfight that left Smith dead and Odinga captured. Inside Smith's shirt pocket, police found a crushed .38 caliber slug they believe was fired from officer O'Grady's service weapon. Three more participants were arrested several months later, including Weems (Balagoon).

The investigation for the participants in the robbery would continue for years. Buck was arrested in 1985. The last person to be arrested in connection with it was Willams (Shakur), the ringleader of the robbery, in 1986.

Trials and sentencing

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 (as in the case of Assata Shakur), massive security precautions were undertaken, turning the courthouse in Goshen, New York into a heavily armed compound. The job of presiding over what was expected to be an arduous and potentially dangerous trial was assigned to Judge David S. Ritter who tried to balance ensuring the rights of the unpopular defendants with keeping the peace in the courtroom while they used unconventional approaches to making their case. 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.

When it came time for the defendants to present their case, they called only one witness, Nathaniel Burns (Sekou Odinga), who had already been convicted of multiple bank robberies. He said that his organization was "fighting for the liberation and self-determination of black people in this country." Burns testified that the killings were suitable because the three victims had interfered with the "expropriation." In his view, the theft of money was morally justified because those funds "were robbed through the slave labor that was forced on them and their ancestors." After his testimony, he was praised by the defendants and led out of the courtroom to serve his 40-year federal prison sentence. The jury was not convinced by Burns' reasoning and at the end of the trial, it took the jury only four hours of deliberation to return a verdict convicting all three defendants of armed robbery and three counts of murder. When the verdict was announced, Clark, Gilbert and Weems refused to appear in court. They remained in the basement holding cells, drinking coffee and railing against, what they perceived to be, a racist court system. "I don't think any interest is served by forcing them to be here," said Judge Ritter.

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.

Unlike their fellow robbers, Boudin and Brown attempted to mount a legal defense. Boudin hired Leonard Weinglass to defend her. Weinglass, a law partner of Boudin's father, arranged for a plea bargain and Boudin pled guilty to one count of felony murder and robbery, in exchange for a single twenty year-to-life sentence. She was paroled in 2003. However, Brown was unable to reach any deal that would spare him a life sentence. Since he had nothing to lose by going to trial, he decided to have one. At his trial, he claimed to have only had a minor participation in the robbery and had not fired a weapon at anyone. The jury was not convinced. In addition to being caught in the escape attempt with the other robbers, witnesses identified him as a participant in both shootouts. He was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison.

Buck was later convicted of multiple charges related to the Brink's robbery and other crimes and sentenced to 50 years in a federal prison. She was released from prison in July, 2010, and died of cancer in August, 2010. Williams (Shakur), the alleged ringleader of the group, was the last one to go on trial on charges related to the robbery. In 1988, he received a 60-year prison sentence. He has a parole release date of 2016.


In 2004, the Nyack post office was officially renamed after the two police officers and the Brink's guard who were killed in the shootout.

In 2008, Kathy Boudin was appointed as an adjunct professor at Columbia University School of Social Work, prompting a 2013 governmental condemnation of the university's action and a call for her termination as professor.


Anger as left-wing activist who was jailed for armed robbery that killed three is given prestigious teaching job at Columbia University

April 5, 2013

A convicted felon who participated in a 1981 armed robbery with radical group Weather Underground - which left three people dead - is now a professor at Columbia University.

Kathy Boudin, 69, is an ajunct professor at Columbia's prestigious School of Social Work after serving 22 years in prison for the deadly heist, the New York Post has reported.

Upon learning about her new post, surviving family members of the crime's victims are outraged.

'I can't believe that a murderer can obtain a job at a university as a professor,' Michael Paige, the son of victim Peter Paige, told Fox News.

Boudin was charged with felony murder for driving the getaway vehicle - a U-Haul van - during the robbery of $1.6 million in cash from an armored Brinks truck.

Security guard Peter Paige and two police officers, Edward O'Grady and Waverly Brown, were killed in a shootout with her accomplices.

Boudin and her partners were members of the anti-Vietnam War group, Weather Underground, and the Black Liberation Army, both of which claimed responsibility for a number of violent attacks and bombings in the 1970s and 1980s.

The majority of Boudin's accomplices were sentenced to life sentences, but Boudin only served 22 years.

She never fired a weapon during the heist, but Michael Page says that's irrelevant.

'She murdered three men - my father and two police officers,' he said. 'She robbed my father and those officers of everything they worked for in their entire lives - their families, their children, everything.

'She robbed my mother of her husband... She robbed us as children of our fathers. She took everything from us.'

Paige said her 'debt to society' will never be repaid.

'As far as I'm concerned, she should have gotten the death penality,' he said.

John Hanchar, the nephew of another victim of the robbery, Nyack Police Officer Edward O’Grady, said Boudin is responsible for leaving nine children without their fathers.

'It’s easy to forget that violence is never the answer,' Hanchar told the Post. 'Nine children grew up without their dads because of her actions.'

While she was in prison, Boudin published articles in the Harvard Educational Review and co-authored a book.

She was released from prison on parole in 2003 and earned a teaching degree from Columbia.

She teaches about issues facing convicts and their families when they are released back into society.

Columbia School of Social Work Associated Dean Marianna Yoshioka told the Post she has been an 'excellent teacher who gets incredible evaluations from her students each year.'



'60s Radical Boudin Goes Free

By Brian Bernbaum - AP

September 17, 2003

Over bitter protests from law officers, 1960s radical Kathy Boudin was released from prison Wednesday after serving 22 years for murder in an armored car heist that left two policemen and a security guard dead.

"I'm physically ill right now," said Brent Newbury, president of the Rockland County Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. "I can't believe I just saw Kathy Boudin walk out of prison."

Boudin, 60, a former Weather Underground member, was granted parole last month despite heavy opposition of relatives, friends and colleagues of the slain men.

On Wednesday morning, she walked out of the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County with her lawyer, Leonard Weinglass.

Wearing a loose white shirt, black pants and white sneakers, Boudin repeatedly turned back toward the prison to wave farewell to several inmate friends gathered at a window. After the long goodbye, she climbed into a sport utility vehicle and was driven away behind a police car.

There were no active protesters, but a few members of the police association were on hand "to make sure that we don't forget the police officers and the security officer who were slain," Newbury said. "Kathy Boudin needs to know that when she's sleeping safely tonight, she's being protected by police officers just like the ones that she was involved in murdering."

Boudin was once a member of the Weather Underground - a group that helped define the radical anti-war movement of the 1960s with its violent protests and bombings.

She was later recruited for the robbery by Black Liberation Army members and other radicals. The robbers stole $1.6 million from a Brink's armored car at a suburban mall and killed security guard Peter Paige. The two policemen, Sgt. Edward O'Grady and Officer Waverly Brown, were gunned down when the truck, with Boudin in the passenger seat, was stopped at a roadblock and gang members burst from the back of the vehicle with automatic weapons firing.

Boudin was caught as she fled. She had been a fugitive for the previous decade after she was seen running from an explosion at a New York City townhouse where bombs allegedly were being made.

Boudin, the daughter of the late civil rights attorney Leonard Boudin, was convicted of murder and robbery and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison in the robbery.

Boudin will be living and working in the New York metropolitan area and will be under routine parole restrictions including a 10 p.m. curfew and travel restrictions for the rest of her life.

She has received several job offers, including one at St. Luke's Hospital in New York City, where she would develop programs for HIV-positive women. St. Luke's spokeswoman Kathleen McGovern said Wednesday that Boudin "has not yet accepted the offer."

The hospital job would echo some of the work Boudin did in prison that helped her win parole - organizing programs for AIDS patients and inmates with children, for example.

Anamarie Scala-Doran, whose police officer father was killed in an attempted robbery in 1975 while guarding St. Luke's payroll, was outraged by word of the job.

"It's offensive to my family and me that my father gave his life protecting the people of St. Luke's Hospital, yet they would consider employing a person guilty of murdering police officers," she said in an opinion piece in Wednesday's New York Post.

Gov. George Pataki announced his disapproval when Boudin's parole was granted in August, and there are signs of a shakeup to come. Board Chairman Brion Travis has told his fellow commissioners he is giving up "day-to-day administrative responsibilities" for the board, and state government sources said the move was a direct result of the Boudin parole decision. Thomas Grant, spokesman for the state Parole Division, denied that.



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