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Advocates demand parole reform after death of NY’s longest-serving female inmate; daughter of her elderly victims says she belonged behind bars


Protestors shout "Valerie Gaiter" outside Legislative Office Building

Advocates cite Valerie Gaiter’s death behind bars after serving over 39 years as a reason for parole reform — but the daughter of her two elderly victims says she belonged in prison.

The Daily News reported last week on the death of Gaiter, 61, who was New York’s longest-serving female inmate. She was sentenced to 50 years to life for brutally stabbing an elderly couple to death in Flatbush, Brooklyn, during a robbery with a teen partner in crime in 1979.

Valerie Gaiter (l.) participated in the Puppies Behind Bars program at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. (Photos courtesy of attorney Amanda Bashi)

Her supporters said she turned her life around behind bars, became a model inmate and deserved a shot at parole, though she was not yet eligible under current rules.

Amber Grumet, the daughter of the elderly couple killed by Gaiter, does not agree. She told the Daily News that Gaiter should have served the minimum sentence of 50 years before being released.

“She took my parents out,” Grumet said. "I don’t think she should have gotten (early) parole. She should have served the minimum: 50 years.”

Grumet said that had Gaiter reached that milestone, she would likely have been supportive of her release.

Meanwhile, 100 advocates of parole reform protested outside state legislative offices in lower Manhattan Wednesday. The gathering coincidentally fell on the 40-year anniversary of the vicious stabbing of Grumet’s parents, Rose and Louis Feit.

Some protesters, wearing shirts for the Release Aging People in Prison campaign, carried signs in the shape of tombstones bearing Gaiter’s name. “Prison grounds should not be graveyards,” “no one deserves to die in prison,” they chanted. They lamented that Gaiter only received treatment for the cancer that killed her in the final month of her life.

Gaiter’s girlfriend, who she met at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, spoke at the gathering.

“She was a kid when she was in there. She repented her sins. And the only one to help her was God, because you didn’t grant her clemency, y’all killed her!" Kiki Analloyd said, addressing Albany legislators. "God bless y’all... make sure they don’t die the way my Val did.”