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Men Convicted In Brutal 1980 Death Of Rockland Teen Up For Parole

Rockland County officials are encouraging locals to sign the Petition for Paula.
Rockland County officials are encouraging locals to sign the Petition for Paula. Photo Credit: Rockland County Government

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. - Two drunken drifters who attacked and brutally killed a 16-year-old honor student from Pearl River are up for parole and a petition is being circulated to keep them in prison.

In October 1980, the men attacked 16-year-old Paula Bohevesky, an honor student who was picked up off the street a few blocks from her Peal 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.

Two days after her attack, the men, Richard LaBarbera and Robert McCain, were arrested and charged in connection to her death, which the medical examiner called “the most brutal he had ever seen,” at the time of Bohevesky’s 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.”

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.”

Thus far, the two men have both been denied parole five times. Those interested in supporting the cause can sign the Petition for Paula online.

“We believe that those who commit violent crimes cannot be trusted not to kill again. We believe that Richard LaBarbera and Robert McCain should not ever be granted parole, and we plead with you to help deny it to them. Society has a responsibility to protect the innocent. We cannot afford to lose another Paula.”

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