Now we know why New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wanted two more weeks in office.
The Democrat, who resigned in disgrace after the state’s attorney general released a report detailing allegations of sexual harassment by the governor, has spent his last days in office pardoning murderers and commuting their sentences.
On his final day in office, Cuomo did so again, giving out four sentence commutations and one pardon. Cuomo also “made a parole board referral for a 76-year-old man over his role in the deadly 1981 Brink’s armored car robbery,” the New York Post reported.
That referral involved David Gilbert, “a Weather Underground member who was convicted of three counts of second-degree murder and four counts of first-degree robbery for his role in the crime that resulted in the deaths of Nyack police Sgt. Edward O’Grady and Officer Waverly Brown as well as Brink’s guard Peter Paige,” the Post reported. “He was serving a sentence of 75 years to life in prison with no possibility of parole until 2056.”
Cuomo unilaterally ordered the release of four other prisoners, including Paul Mingo, 68, who was sentenced in 1983 to serve 50 years to life after being convicted of the 1980 robbery-murder of a New York City couple. Cuomo also granted clemency to Robert Ehrenberg, 62, who was also serving 50 years to life for killing a man during a 1992 robbery.
“The fourth commutation recipient was 66-year-old Ulysses Boyd, who was convicted of second-degree murder in connection with a 1986 killing at a Harlem crack house. The fifth was 59-year-old Paul Clark, convicted of second-degree murder, attempted murder and weapons possession after shooting and killing a 17-year-old at a block party near his Brooklyn home in 1980,” the Post reported.
Last week, Cuomo granted clemency and pardons to 10 other felons — including three tied to killings, according to a new report.
“One of the foundational promises of New York state is that of equal justice, and equal compassion, for all under the law,” said the Democrat, who is resigning to avoid impeachment following allegations of sexual harassment by at least 11 women. “Today I’m proud to help fulfill government’s unique responsibility to harness the power of redemption, encourage those who have made mistakes to engage in meaningful rehabilitation, and empower everyone to work toward a better future for themselves and their families.”
“Cuomo commuted the sentence of Nehru Gumbs, 36, who was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon and assault in 2005 — crimes committed when he was 18,” the Post said. “Gumbs was fingered for the brutal shooting death of an innocent bystander heading to his Canarsie home from a midnight church service on New Year’s Eve 2004. Gumbs has served 17½ years of a 25-year sentence. He has served as the youth counselor at Sing Sing prison and earned an associate’s degree from Mercy College and is pursuing a job as a plumber.”
The governor also granted clemency to Jon-Adrian Velasquez, 45, convicted of second-degree murder, attempted murder, and three counts of robbery in 1999, according to the Post. Velazquez was convicted of shooting retired police officer Albert Ward to death in 1998. Actor Martin Sheen, who had met with him in prison, had pushed for his release, claiming Valasquez was not guilty.
Cuomo also reduced the sentence of Richard “Lee” Chalk, 63, convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and other charges in 1988. Chalk was the driver, not the gunman, in the murder, Cuomo said, and had served 33 years of a 50-years-to-life sentence.