SOMERS, NY - Not far from the scene of a shocking murder, Senator Terrence Murphy announced a new law, signed by Governor Cuomo, that will help keep dangerous criminals behind bars. The law, Chapter 130 of the laws of 2016, was authored by Senator Murphy to ensure that past and current statements made by crime victims or their representatives will be taken into account whenever a parole board is considering releasing an inmate.
"I'm proud to have sponsored a law that ensures the voices of those victimized by heinous crimes will be heard," Senator Murphy said. "This law spares victims the pain of having to relive a traumatic experience each time a parole hearing is scheduled. The loophole that allowed a dangerous criminal to be released prematurely has been closed. This is important law that holds criminals responsible for their acts. It's a law with a heart."
"We appreciate Senator Murphy's quick response in getting this legislation signed by the Governor," Somers town Supervisor Rick Morrissey said. "Brooks Prouty, whose grandmother was murdered by a man who was released on a technically, brought this issue to our attention. Senator Murphy sponsored this bill and worked hard to it was passed within a year."
Westchester County Legislator Frances Corcoran added, "I support and applaud Senator Murphy's efforts to help the victims and their families. Victims should not have to repeatedly experience the pain of past memories in order see justice done. This new law will not only help families in Westchester but throughout the state as well."
"Senator Murphy took the time to listen to victims' needs," noted Ann Ellsworth, Executive Director of the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women's Resource Center. "Victims don't often speak out for themselves. By knowing their voice will be held at their offender's parole hearings, Senator Murphy is giving victims a way to help them heal."
Senator Murphy made the announcement at the Mount Zion Church, which is within visual distance of where Eleanor Prouty was murdered in 1980. Among those in attendance were Michael Hagan, Police Benevolent Association President, Westchester County Police Department; Kerel Amaranth, Executive Director, Westchester Community Opportunity Program/Victim Assistance Service; Somers Police Chief Michael Driscoll, and Somers Town Clerk Patricia Kalba.
Language in the new law specifies that a crime victim can designate someone to represent them at a parole hearing. A representative can be the crime victim's closest surviving relative, a guardian or someone legally appointed to the task. Statements submitted by the victim or their representative may include information concerning threatening or intimidating conduct made by the inmate toward the victim or their family. Crime victims or their representatives now also have the option to request a transcript of the parole hearing.
Senator Murphy crafted the legislation in response to the 2016 release of Terry Losicco, who was convicted of murdering Eleanor Prouty, a 67-year-old grandmother and Somers resident. During the commission of his attempted robbery turned murder, Losicco also severely beat Eleanor's wheelchair-bound husband, Norman. Losicco, who was 16-years-old at the time of the murder, lived at nearby Lincoln Hall, a school for troubled boys.
Assemblyman Mike DenDekker, who carried the bill in the Assembly said, “I would like to take this moment to thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill into law, and thank the Senate sponsor, Senator Murphy. This law clarifies that victims impact statements have no expiration date, and that all crime victims’ statements will be provided to the parole board for their consideration at each board appearance. By making this bill a law, New York State has ensured that victims do not feel the need to submit a statement each time an offender is up for parole. Reliving a crime can be traumatizing and deeply upsetting, and no one should be forced to feel that way, especially after the offender has already been found guilty. This law protects victims while making certain that their voices are still heard in parole hearings. I am proud to have sponsored this bill and proud that it is now law in New York State.”
Losicco's crime was considered particularly monstrous, not only because of his youth, but also because of the viciousness of his attack. After bludgeoning Norman Prouty into unconsciousness, Losicco beat and strangled Mrs. Prouty, then stomped on her so hard he left an imprint of his boot on her face. Locisso completed his odious act by sodomizing Mrs. Prouty. Led to believe there were a large sum of money in the house, Losicco's total take was a meager $25. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison and became eligible for parole in 2005.
Terry Losicco was denied parole seven times over a ten year period before getting approval for his release in March, 2016. One of the mitigating factors in Losicco's release was that his parole hearing occurred before the Prouty family was notified. As a result, no one from Eleanor Prouty's family was available to represent them at Losicco's last parole hearing.
There is a silver lining for both the new law and for Terry Losicco's fate. Losicco was arrested June 20 for violating his parole.