Lengthy Terms for Two Convicted in Bloody Brink’s Robbery
NEW YORK (AP) _ A judge has sentenced two self-styled revolutionaries to long prison terms for their part in a string of armored car robberies, including a botched 1981 Brink’s holdup that left three people dead.
In handing down his sentence Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Charles Haight described defendants Marilyn Jean Buck and Mutulu Shakur as ″gifted and capable people who crossed the line into deadly violence that mocks compassion.″
Shakur was sentenced to 60 years and Buck was sentenced to 50 years for their May conviction on racketeering, bank robbery and murder charges.
″I am not guilty of any criminal act,″ Shakur, 37, told Haight, prompting applause from supporters among 150 people packed into the heavily guarded courtroom.
Dressed in a gray business suit, Shakur, a one-time Harlem acupuncturist, said, ″I am a freedom fighter,″ and supporters took up the chant: ″Freedom fighter 3/8″
Ms. Buck, 40, wearing a floral print dress, said she was committed to battling ″the malignant cancer of racism,″ adding, ″I am here for advocating change and justice.″
She is already serving 15 years in prison on other convictions. Ms. Buck is also under indictment with six other people in Washington for a series of protest bombings, including a 1983 blast at the U.S. Capitol.
In calling for prison terms, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kerri Martin gestured toward the widow and young son of Edward O’Grady, a police officer slain in the 1981 robbery.
″They have waited seven long years to have justice done in this case,″ said the prosecutor.
Both defendants could have been sentenced to a maximum of life in prison.
The defense had contended that Shakur, who is black, and Ms. Buck, who is white, are revolutionaries who were put on trial because of their political beliefs.
Prosecutors charged Shakur, who was once on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List, with masterminding the $1.6 million holdup of a Brink’s truck at a suburban Rockland County mall on Oct. 20, 1981. A guard and two Nyack police officers were killed in the bloody aftermath of the robbery.
Ms. Buck and Shakur also were convicted of a June 2, 1981, armored truck robbery in the Bronx during which another Brink’s guard was killed.
The charges against the pair included a wave of robberies and attempted armored truck robberies in New York and Connecticut.
They also were convicted of a racketeering conspiracy for their part in a gang that called itself ″The Family″ and allegedly robbed to support radical black political activities.
At least 12 other people have been convicted on state and federal charges at earlier trials.
As part of their racketeering conviction, Ms. Buck and Shakur were found to have played key parts in the November 1979 prison escape of radical Joanne Chesimard.
Chesimard, a Black Liberation Army leader who had been serving a life sentence in a New Jersey prison for the murder of a New Jersey state trooper, was not apprehended and is believed to be living in Cuba.