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Man Denied Parole In Brutal 1980 Murder Of Pearl River Teen

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

One of the two drifters who attacked and brutally killed a 16-year-old honor student from Pearl River has been denied parole and will have to wait two years to re-apply.

In October 1980, Richard LaBarbera and Robert McCain allegedly 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.

LaBarbera was turned down at his latest parole hearing last week. It marks the eighth time he has been denied since 2005. LaBarbera is eligible to reapply for early release in May 2019.

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 month, 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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