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Police & Fire

Second Killer Denied Parole In Pearl River Girl's Murder

Paula Bohovesky Paula Bohovesky
Paula Bohovesky Photo Credit: Contributed
Paula Bohovesky Paula Bohovesky
Paula Bohovesky Photo Credit: GoFundMe

The mother of a Pearl River teenager brutally murdered and sexually assaulted by two men in 1980 is celebrating the denial of parole for one of the men convicted of the crime.

Lois Bohovesky, 86, of Pearl River, said she is "delighted," that Robert McCain, one of the men convicted in the1980 murder of her 16-year-old daughter Paula Bohovesky, as she walked home from her part-time job at the local library.

"I still think of her every day and our family accepts this with glad tidings," she said. 

Paula Bohovesky, an honor student and aspiring actress, was beaten, sexually assaulted and stabbed to death on October 28, 1980, by McCain, and Richard LaBarbera, 66.

LaBarbera, a former Pearl River resident, granted parole in late May, will be released sometime in July. 

Both men had been convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life.

The crime took place around 7 p.m. in the small hamlet of Pearl River when Paula, who was only a block from her parent's home, when the two men, who had been drinking at the High Wheeler bar, saw her walk by the area. 

According to court accounts of the crime, McCain walked up to Paula and crushed the right side of her skull with a chunk of brick he had picked up from the ground. He then dragged the young teen behind an abandoned house and sexually assaulted her, as LaBarbera watched.

When McCain was finished, LaBarbera, thinking that Paula was dead, attempted to sexually assault her. But during the second attack, she stirred and he pulled out a knife and stabbed her five times in the back, killing her. 

Rockland County Executive Ed Day, who was outraged over the parole granted to LaBarbera, said the denial was "muted," due to the upcoming release of LaBarbera. 

"I want to thank everyone who has been and continues to be focused on restoring Justice for Paula," Day said. "Today, it is clear that your words and actions have had an effect. However, there will be no celebration of this victory, and our collective response will be muted as Richard LaBarbera may soon walk free on the same streets of Pearl River where he brutally murdered Paula Bohovesky nearly 40 years ago. 

"We ask that everyone continue their efforts to reverse the disgraceful decision of the Parole Board to release Richard LaBarbera. Justice must be restored."

Abigail Bohovesky, Paula's niece, has launched a “Say Something” campaign on YouTube urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to  "say something" to the parole board, and recommend they reverse their decision. So far Cuomo has not commented on the case. 

The campaign is asking people to call Cuomo’s office number at 518-474-8390 – Then Press “1” to leave a message. 

"Ask him to SAY SOMETHING to the parole board, and reverse the decision to release the criminals," the campaign added.

Paula's mother, Lois, who said she is "feeling overwhelmed," by the decision, feels the same way but doesn't believe there is a legal outlet to make it happen: "We hope, but I don't think legally there is anything that can be done."

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