“Kim’s family should not have to relive this awful crime every few years when a parole hearing is due,” Bergen County freeholders agreed in a resolution last night. “It is overwhelmingly taxing on them emotionally and logistically.”
Alice Montelaro with Capt. Ciocco of Washington Township, Chief Papapietro of New Milford
Anthony and Alice Montelaro have endured four hearings since Christopher Righetti raped and killer their daughter in A ugust 1976. The toll of the trips from their Florida home is showing.
“The crime of it is th at these people are in their 70s and they have to keep coming back,” said New Milford Police Chief Frank Papapietro. “He got a life sentence. He should serve it.”
Officials in vario us municipalities have agreed, adopting their own resolutions calling on the Parole Board to keep Righetti locked up for good. Some 1,100 civilians have written letters asking board members to spare Kim’s family the constant anguish.
“This is a tough day for us — it’s been a tough month,” Alice Montelaro told a dozen or so supporters yesterday before she, her husband and her son addressed the board.
The group of municipal officials, police and staffers of the advocacy group KeepBergenSafe.com had come by bus from Immaculate Heart Academy, Kim Montelaro’s alma mater in Washington Township, representing by their presence the massive number of people who want the Parole Board to show mercy on the Montelaros and protect the rest of society at the same time.
Bob Schroeder gives support letters to Paul, Alice & Anthony Montelaro outside Parole Board office
“After speaking to Tony Montelaro a couple of weeks ago, I had to do this,” Papapietro told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “I have two daughters who are the same age Kim was when she was killed.
“Tony Montelaro is a strong guy,” the chief said, “but this was hard for his wife. I could see it.”
Indeed, Mr. Montelaro is a special breed.
“Back when this first happened to us, I was angry,” he said in June (See: Father of slain Bergen girl wants killer kept behind bars ). “This man snuffed out my young daughter’s life, and the pain was indescribable. No question about it — I wanted revenge.
“Now, as the years have passed, the pain of our loss is still there, but I have gotten to a point where I do not want revenge or retribution,” he said. “All I want is justice, not only for Kim’s sake, but for the sake of the entire community.
Papapietro agreed that Righetti, 49, must remain imprisoned to help safeguard society. That includes New Milford — “the t own they pay me to protect,” he said. “ There’s a lot at stake here.”
Righetti’s history of violence goes back to a rape that kept him in a juvenile detention center for 13 months, keepbergensafe.com staffers said. In addition to 1,085 emailed and handwritten letters, the organization secured resolutions opposing Righetti’s release from several Bergen County towns, including Paramus, which adopted its measure last night.
Anthony Montelaro talked
with some of the officers who showed up yesterday, including John DeVoe of River Vale and Jeff Angermeyer of Hillsdale.
Washington Township Police Capt. Randy Ciocco remembered the murder being solved as “the result of good detective work” that also benefitted from a bit of luck: To find the murder weapon, investigators didn’t even have to dredge the swimming hole where Righetti tossed Kim’s body.
“The water level was low,” Ciocco said, “and it was sticking out of the silt.”
Investigators took the shiny new blade to area stores. A Westwood merchant clearly remembered selling the hunting knife to a beefy teenager who sported an “animal” tattoo. It was Righetti, Ciocco said.
Joining him on the bus trip to Trenton was Patricia Molloy, principal of Immaculate Heart, who has given her all to help bring the Montelaros some measure of peace (See: Movement grows to block killer’s parole ).
Others who made the trip included Woodcliff Lake council members Joanne Howley and John Glaser and former prosecutor and current victims’ rights advocate Marilyn Zbodinski.
Waiting in Trenton was Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Daneille Grootenvoort — an IHA grad herself — who presented the state’s case.
Righetti’s scheduled appearance is kept secret by law. His fate will be decided sometime before his Sept. 26 release date.
The board rejected him in 1991, 1996 and 2004. Each time, Kim’s parents — both now 78 — came. This time, though, Paul joined to discuss the effect the horrific crime had on him.
Schroeder emphasized that there’s still time for those who haven’t written to the Parole Board yet to do so.
“Yes, we’ve gotten over 1000 letters, but the more letters we send in, the better,” he said.
“So, if you know of anyone who hasn’t sent a letter in yet, it’s not too late. We will continue printing out the letters and will express mail them on a regular basis from now until a final decision is reached by the Parole Board.”
To help the cause, go to: keepbergensafe.com
TOP TWO PHOTOS: Courtesy KeepBergenSafe.com (NO USE WITHOUT PERMISSION); KIM PHOTO: Courtesy Montelaro family (NO USE WITHOUT PERMISSION); RIGHETTI MUGSHOT: N.J. Dept. of Corrections
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