Chad Campbell was convicted of brutally murdering a teenage Pal-Mac girl and a toddler

GENEVA — State Sen. Pam Helming is trying to keep convicted killer Chad Campbell behind bars.

Campbell is serving a life sentence for the murders of a classmate and the toddler boy she was babysitting. He is eligible for parole in May. 

Helming posted a petition Monday at, seeking signatures from the public to help in her quest to prevent Campbell's release.

Earlier this year, Helming sent a letter to the New York State Parole Board opposing Campbell’s early release and demanding he be kept in prison for the entire length of his sentence.  Copies of the petition will be delivered to the parole board at the end of this month. 

In August 1990, Campbell — then 14 years old — brutally stabbed to death Cindy Lewis, his 15-year-old Palmyra-Macedon Central School District classmate, and Curtis Rizzo, the 17-month-old boy she was babysitting.

Though he has been eligible for parole five times since 2008 and will be eligible again next month, Campbell has previously been denied an early release because he has shown no remorse for these heinous crimes, Helming says in a release.

Rather than take responsibility for himself and his actions, he chooses to blame his upbringing for his reprehensible actions, she notes, adding that Campbell’s horrific actions have caused irreparable harm to the community where he committed this terrible violence and unspeakable anguish to the family and friends of those he murdered.

“When Chad Campbell chose to kill two innocent children by repeatedly stabbing them over and over again, in my opinion, he forfeited his right to live outside prison walls,” she wrote. “Cindy and Curtis did not have the chance to live out their lives, and their families have endured years of suffering and pain. Why should Campbell be granted an opportunity to live freely? By releasing Campbell, who has reportedly shown no remorse for his actions, will the parole board be jeopardizing public safety? I am asking the public to sign my petition so that together we can send a clear message to the New York State Parole Board that Campbell should not be released from prison; not now and not ever." 

Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts said the murders happened in the village of Palmyra.

“Campbell has never taken responsibility for his murderous actions,” he stated. “In my judgement, Campbell should never be released from prison. Campbell denied teenager Cindy and baby Curtis a life to live because of his brutal and monstrous actions in killing them.” 

Former Palmyra Village Police Chief David Dalton, who originally investigated the murder, said he wholeheartedly supports any and all efforts to see that Campbell is never released from prison.

“This crime shook the village of Palmyra and its residents to their core, some of whom, besides the families of the victims, will never recover from it,” Dalton said. “Chad Campbell should never set foot outside of prison walls for the rest of his life. His inability to take responsibility for his actions in the past speaks for itself. Any change would be, in my estimation, only self-serving on his part.”

Helming has also worked with Rizzo’s grandmother, Elaine Hartnagel, to support bills in the state Senate that would help victims and their families during parole board hearings. One measure (S.2997-A) would lengthen the time between parole hearings from two years to five years, giving grieving families a greater period of peace before having to relive their tragedies while testifying at the next hearing.

Another measure (S.6200) would allow all family members and interested parties to make statements during hearings in order to create a more open and fair process for victims’ families and all those affected by the crime. For example, grandparents such as Hartnagel are currently not given the chance to speak before the parole board. 

“My family and I tremendously appreciate the overwhelming support that Senator Helming has shown us through her efforts to keep a vicious convicted killer in prison and off our streets as well as to pass legislation aimed at providing relief for the families of crime victims,” Hartnagel stated. “Though nothing we can do will ever bring back Curtis and Cindy or take away the pain that we feel every day from their loss, the support of people like Senator Helming means so much to us. I will continue to do all I can to make sure this monster never sees a day outside prison walls.”

According to Helming, a co-sponsor on both bills, the bills passed the Senate with wide bipartisan support last year and were re-introduced for this year’s legislative session.

“I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to pass these two measures this year, and I am hopeful the Assembly and the governor will do the same so that we can bring justice to victims and their families,” Helming stated. “I have seen and heard firsthand the pain and suffering that Ms. Hartnagel and her family still feel over the loss of  their beloved Curtis and his babysitter Cindy — lives that were cut tragically short 28 years ago.”