A New York man, who served nearly 40 years for killing 16-year-old Paula Bohovesky in 1980, is back behind bars for violating the conditions of his parole, authorities said Thursday.

The 66-year-old Richard LaBarbera is being held at the Erie County Jail. It was not immediately clear what specific violation led to his re-arrest.

LaBarbera was controversially released from a New York prison in early July that sparked pushback from the community and the Bohovesky family. He served had 38 years in prison after being sentenced to 25 years to life.

LaBarbera and a cohort, Robert McCain, allegedly sexually assaulted and killed Bohovesky in the 1980s as she walked home from her job at the Pearl River Library. They attacked her just blocks from her family’s home. Both men were found guilty of the murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in jail.

Robert McCain, left, and Richard LaBarbera.
Robert McCain, left, and Richard LaBarbera. (New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision)

The decision by New York’s heavily criticized parole board to let the convicted murderer free resulted in lawsuits and condemnation. The Bohovesky family and a nonprofit organization filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court asking that LaBarbera be given another hearing with all board members present, and also asked him to be kept five counties from Pearl River, N.Y., where he murdered Bohovesky, to protect her mother.

In the end, LaBarbera was granted his freedom – and was required to be three counties from Rockland County and Pearl River.

LaBarbera’s is controversial because as the Rockland County man reportedly continues to blame McCain for the murder and has not accepted responsibility for his role in Bohovesky’s death – a common prerequisite before a criminal is released.

Paula Bohovesky, 16, in an undated photo.
Paula Bohovesky, 16, in an undated photo. (Bohovesky family)

The victim’s 87-year-old mother, Lois Bohovesky, said: “I’m not surprised. I didn’t expect this to happen so quickly.”

Although the state board chose to grant LaBarbera his freedom, however brief it was before his arrest, it opted to deny McCain’s parole last month.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day released a statement that says in part:

“I want to express my gratitude to the parole officers in Erie County for keeping a close watch on Richard LaBarbera and doing what the New York State Parole Board failed to do; keeping this child killer in jail. This monster does not deserve to walk free on our streets while our community still suffers from the loss and pain he caused.”

“Not surprisingly, it only took him days to run afoul of the law. I remind all that this cretin was on parole when he murdered Paula so he clearly has learned nothing other than how to be a scar on society. He committed murder, a crime of permanency, and should be permanently in jail.”

Categories: New York U.S.