One of the two drifters convicted of attacking and brutally killing a 16-year-old honor student from Pearl River has once again been denied early release from prison by a state parole panel.
In October 1980, Richard LaBarbera and Robert McCain attacked 16-year-old Paula Bohevesky, an honor student who was picked up off the street a few blocks from her Pearl River home. She was reportedly “brutally” beaten, stabbed and left alone to die in a pool of her own blood with her clothes strewn about.
Earlier this month, a three-member state parole panel denied McCain’s request for early release from his life sentence at Collins Correctional Facility, where he remains remanded. He is eligible to reapply for early release in 2019.
Both LaBarbera and McCain have sought early release repeatedly, but have been turned down each time.
Two days after her attack, both men were arrested and charged in connection to Bohevesky’s death, which the medical examiner called “the most brutal he had ever seen” at the time of her death.
Both men were tried, convicted and sentenced to between 25 years and life in prison. They were first eligible for parole in 2005 and have since had their freedom denied by a panel biennially since.
In a 2009 letter to the Parole Board at the Great Meadow Correctional Facility, Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe emphatically urged members to deny both men’s parole requests.
“Throughout the day and evening of Oct. 28, 1980, the inmate and co-defendant Robert McCain were drinking at a local bar. Sometime after 7 p.m., when Paula left the library, the inmate and co-defendant saw her walking alone past the bar and began to follow her.
“(Paula) was viciously struck in the head with a rock and then pursued as she attempted to escape down a driveway. (She) was caught and overpowered, being knocked to the ground. She was then viciously beat about the head and neck until she was unconscious. (McCain) then pulled her pants down and raped her as the inmate watched.”
Earlier this year, in an effort to deter any efforts to earn parole, Rockland County Executive Ed Day posted on the county’s Facebook page, asking residents to show solidarity and sign a petition urging officials to deny the parole requests.
“They are up for parole again. Once again, we ask you to sign this Petition for Paula to keep these two killers from ever doing again what they did to this girl,” he posted. “Paula’s mother, Lois, is in her 80s now, still living in Pearl River. We don’t know how much longer she will be able to fight this battle. Let’s help her.”
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