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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Bob Van Cura

Aired August 21, 2003 - 20:43   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And as we've said, three people died during the robbery in which Kathy Boudin took part in back in 1981. Joining me now is a spokesman for their families. Bob Van Cura is a detective with the South Nyack-Grandview (ph) police department.
You heard Chesa talk about what his mother hopes might happen down the road, some sort of healing process, reconciliation process between her and the families. Do you see that ever happening?

DET. BOB VAN CURA, SPOKESMAN FOR VICTIMS' FAMILIES: I don't, really. The families I don't think really see anything positive that could come from a meeting with her at this time. She certainly has never reached out to them prior to this parole being granted to offer any kind of condolences to the family, and I don't really think they'd be, at least initially, willing to meet with her in this case.

ZAHN: How are the families taking this news? I know in the previous interview, I shared with our audience a small part of a comment one family member had made. This person was outraged.

VAN CURA: I think outrage and devastation, really. The ironic, somewhat perverse irony of the day was that yesterday would have been the 55th birthday of Sergeant Edward O'Grady, who was tragically killed that day. And on a day that would have been his birthday, one of the people responsible for his death is being released to live her life, something that he's unable to do. And that's been the hardest part for them.

ZAHN: Does it make any difference in any of those family members' minds that Kathy Boudin was not directly involved in the crime? I know she has even admitted, through her actions, you know, providing this decoy ended up costing lives. But do people make that distinction at all?

VAN CURA: I don't think so because that decoy really did cost their lives. I mean, her role, a pre-planned role, really, with her husband, David Gilbert (ph), who is serving 75 years to life, Chesa's father, was to be a decoy. She knew that there were heavily armed terrorists in the back, with $1.6 million they just stole from an armored car. And yet when she got out, she feigned fear and convinced the officers that they had the wrong truck, which was her role. And that led to one of the officers putting a shotgun back in the patrol car at the time that the rear door of the U-Haul opened up and the terrorists with the M-16s jumped out and killed Sergeant O'Grady and Officer Brown.

ZAHN: So this has just been a very sad 24 hours for you. VAN CURA: It really has because, you know, I'd just started my law enforcement career when that happened. It was one of the first cases I ever testified in. And I've stayed close to the families over the past 22 years and, you know, saw the pain that they went through, missing their fathers at their children's weddings and college graduations and those types of things that they were never able to celebrate.

And it's somewhat ironic that Kathy Boudin, one of the people have talked about with her is that she was able to get a college degree and did these type of things in prison. And Ned O'Grady struggled to get his bachelor's degree just prior to being murdered, and he had to pay for that himself, and it wasn't, you know, something that he was awarded on the taxpayers' back.

ZAHN: Detective Bob Van Cura, thank you...

VAN CURA: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: ... for your time tonight.

There is movement tonight in the Kobe Bryant case. We're going to take a short break. Coming up next, a judge makes a ruling on whether to unseal documents, including Bryant's arrest warrant. We're going to find out what that might mean to the case.

And a little bit later on, a little girl with a nose for news. I'm going to be talking to the girl who got the secretary of defense to answer just one more question. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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