NEW MILFORD, N.J. -- A nightmare has returned for the family of a New Milford honors student abducted, raped and killed nearly four decades ago by a state prisoner up once again for parole.
It's the third time in seven years that the mother and brother of Kim Montelaro have to make the trip to New Jersey from their Florida home and relieve the horror of her killing. Her father, Tony, died last November.
Lisa Yakomin of Woodcliff Lake is handling outreach for the family in advance of the state Parole Board hearing for Christopher Righetti later this year.
After getting news of the upcoming hearing Wednesday night, Yakomin drafted an online petition: Justice For Kim Montelaro
She also created a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/justiceforkimmontelaro/
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi "immediately pledged to help in any way she can, as did Assemblyman Robert Auth," Yakomin told Daily Voice. "Both of them answered my email within minutes."
Yakomin was speaking with county officials and again seeking resolutions from mayors and councils throughout Bergen County.
Former River Vale Mayor Joe Blundo -- now a Pascack Valley Regional High School District board member -- "offered to write a letter for us and has been sharing the petition link on social media," she added.
Others who immediately pledged support include Patricia Malloy, principal of Kim's alma mater, Immaculate Heart Academy in Washington Township, and Rosemarie D'Alessandro, whose 7-year-old daughter, Joan, was raped and murdered by a Hillsdale neighbor in 1973.
All this in under 24 hours.
"We still have more to do, but so far, the response has been great," Yakomin said. "We expect it to grow exponentially as more people hear about it."
All letters opposing Righetti's release must be sent to the Parole Board by mid-May.
ADDRESS THEM TO:
NJ State Parole Board, PO Box 682, Trenton, NJ 08625 (ATTN: Tanya Milton, Victim Services Coordinator)
BE SURE to reference both the killer's name and ID number: Christopher Righetti, Prisoner #59431.
Such campaigns are necessary, advocates say.
Seven years ago, the Montelaro family -- accompanied by local police and others -- brought 1,100 emailed and hand-written letters that swayed the board to keep Righetti at Northern State Prison in Newark. They were back again in 2012.
That's because of a six-year-old state law that requires that “in no case shall any parole eligibility date...be more than three years following the date on which an inmate was denied release.”
“It’s like a penalty to us,” the late Anthony Montelaro once told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. “We have to relive this whole nightmare all over again.”
It was August 1976 when Righetti — then 16 — abducted Kim Montelaro from the parking lot of the Paramus Park Mall and took her to a wooded area, where he raped her and stabbed her six times in the chest.
Behind bars, Righetti joined powerlifting teams and set a state corrections record.
Yakomin wants a different record -- for the largest-ever opposition to his release.
“[W]e need to get as many letters and signatures as possible before the deadline,” she said.
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