SOMERS, N.Y. - Terry Losicco, who has been housed at the Fishkill Correctional Facility for 35 years, was granted parole on Tuesday morning, according to Brooks Prouty, the grandson of the woman who he murdered.
Prouty notified The Somers Record on Tuesday afternoon, a few hours before press time. An information officer with the New York State Department of Corrections could not immediately provide information over the phone about Losicco, but said his office would email information later in the afternoon. As of press time, no email had been received. However, a Feb. 2 email exchange between Prouty and Janet Koupash, director of the Office of Victim Assistance, which is a division of the New York State Department of Corrections, said Losicco is to be released in the northern region of the state and will report to the Plattsburgh Parole Office. It was not clear from the exchange whether Losicco was actually released from prison on Tuesday. Koupash said Losicco’s release plans are pending approval.
In the middle of the night on May 25, 1980, Losicco murdered Eleanor Prouty at her Primrose Street home in Somers. Losicco was a student of Lincoln Hall, a school located in the Lincolndale section of Somers. Boys are mandated to attend Lincoln Hall by the courts. The institution also currently houses young refugees who are alone in the United States until they are repatriated with their families.
Losicco strangled Eleanor Prouty and then sodomized her, according to multiple accounts. He also severely beat Brooks Prouty’s grandfather, Norman, who was wheelchair-bound due to multiple sclerosis and was unable to defend his wife or himself.
Losicco’s accomplice, David Hollis, who was a Lincoln Hall student at the time of the murder and who watched the whole thing, was granted parole in May 2010, but was back behind bars on Dec. 14, 2015 after failing a urinalysis test. Hollis is scheduled to be released again on Nov. 3 of this year.
“I’m enraged by this decision,” Prouty said, adding that his family was given very little notification from the Parole Board. Losicco’s last parole hearing was in March 2015 and was not eligible for another hearing until March 2017, but Losicco appealed the March 2015 decision and was given another hearing last Friday.
Koupash told Prouty that the appeal hearing was most likely granted on a technicality, but that the Parole Board does not share that information.
In explaining a possible technicality, Koupash said the Parole Board panel may have stated “we see you have a prior conviction for robbery” when in actuality it was a prior conviction for attempted robbery. She also said the Parole Board panel may have stated “we have reviewed documents A, B, C, D and E in determining our decision to deny release” when in actuality document C was not available to the Parole Board panel.
Prouty said his family was only notified of the hearing last week and was not given adequate time to gather statements from the district attorney, local politicians and others who might have influenced the decision.
But Koupash responded, “Those ‘official’ letters were already in the file from his prior Parole Board appearances. The ‘official’ letters are never destroyed, just like the prior victim impact statements are never destroyed. The difference is that invitations for ‘updated’ statements are only made to victims and their family members per statute. You are right that you didn’t have the time to ask for updated ‘official’ letters, but I’m not sure they would have had any more impact than the letters that were already on file and available to the Parole Board members that interviewed him.”
In response to Koupash’s email, Prouty responded, “I am really disgusted that so little notice was given. We have been mistreated here. We are deeply invested in the belief that he should spend his life in prison. For the Board of Paroles to give us so little notice and time to line up support is WRONG...This bastard brutalized and sodomized my grandmother. His offense was conducted with a studied premeditation. I care not whether he has spent 35 or 45 years in prison. He should end his life there -- rotting away in boredom or depression or whatever. There is no justification for releasing him except in some demented liberal model of ‘rehabilitation’.”
When the Parole Board denied Losicco’s release in 2013, it wrote, “Following careful review and deliberation of your record and interview, this panel concludes that discretionary release is not presently warranted dut [sic] to concern for the public safety and welfare.”
It’s not clear why the Parole Board changed its mind. A transcript of its latest decision could not be obtained at press time.
“Who does this system protect?” Prouty asked, rhetorically. “Is it on the side of the inmates? Is it on the side of the community.”
Brooks Prouty, who grew up in Somers and attended Primrose Elementary School and Somers Intermediate School before attending boarding school in Pennsylvania, was very close to his grandmother. He was her first grandson and was named after his uncle, David Brooks Prouty, who committed suicide less than two years before he was born.
Brooks and “Ellie,” as Eleanor Prouty’s family called her, would go jogging and play tennis together. Brooks’ parents moved to a home right next door to his grandparents in Somers so they could help her care for her husband due to his illness.
Ellie was a retired senior editor for Reader’s Digest, the largest paid circulation magazine in the world, which at the time was headquartered in Chappaqua. She was also a civic leader, serving on the Somers Board of Education, and was instrumental in the construction of Primrose School.
Ellie was Catholic and felt a duty to help the troubled youth at Lincoln Hall, which was run by the Christian Brothers. It currently is affiliated with the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.
For several decades, Brooks’ grandparents would hire boys from Lincoln Hall to do some light chores, such as raking leaves and planting flower beds.
“My grandmother did this simply as a charitable thing,” Brooks said, adding that hiring Lincoln Hall boys wasn’t unique in town.
“They were generally great kids,” Brooks said.
About a decade before the murder, Brooks said the profile of the students at Lincoln Hall changed.
“This didn’t show up on anyone’s radar that you [Lincoln Hall] were dealing with violent individuals,” he said.
One of the kids working at the Prouty’s house was Gary Bucknight, who reportedly told Losicco and Hollis that the Proutys lived in a big house and had lots of money.
But Brooks was quick to point out that his grandparents, while affluent, were not ostentatious, and did not have lots of cash lying around.
Brooks was 15 years old when his grandmother was murdered. His sister, who was 9 at the time, was the first to discover her grandmother’s body.
Dan Moran, who is a current volunteer firefighter with the Somers Volunteer Fire Department, was the first EMT to arrive at the scene.
“I couldn’t believe something like this could happen in our town,” said Moran in an interview in 2013, when The Somers Record reported on this story ahead of a parole hearing. “This guy needs to stay in jail…one look at the crime scene photos would hopefully convince them [the parole board].”
After the murder, Prouty and his family moved to neighboring Bedford. His grandfather died a few years later at the Somers Manor Nursing Home.
“He lived his last years separated from his family and, most painfully of all, his wife,” Prouty said. “When I would visit him during my vacations from boarding school, his spirits would perk up for a time, but as soon as I started to leave, he would sob how he missed my grandmother and how his life was, as he put it, ‘a living hell’ without her. Although my grandfather survived, he died a broken man. Terry Losicco may have killed my grandmother, but he destroyed my grandfather.”
Today, Prouty lives in an apartment high up in a skyrise on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He has doormen controlling who gets in and out of the building. His choice of residence, he acknowledged, was a conscious decision.
“I have a different take on human nature,” Prouty said. “The potential for something like this is real.”
He said his whole family, including Ellie and Norman’s three sons and daughter and 12 grandchildren feel the same way.