PLATTSBURGH -- A little over a month after he was denied parole to a Veterans Administration health facility, convicted child killer Albert Rock died at Wende Correctional Facility.

According to Linda Foglia, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, Rock, 63 and formerly of Schuyler Falls, died of natural causes at the western New York prison.

In April, Rock appeared before the Parole Board in a wheelchair and was denied parole for the 11th time in 20 years. He died May 17.

"All my family can say is we're relieved this chapter of this story is over. This book can be closed," said Deborah Conners, sister of the murdered girl.

Rock was convicted in 1972 of the ax murder of Laura Conners, 6, of Schuyler Falls. Her tiny body was found in a shallow grave near Mother Cabrini Shrine in Peru. She had been sexually molested, badly beaten and killed with a hatchet.

Since 1967, Rock had been either in a prison or in a psychiatric facility. He was arrested on June 28, 1967, the day after the murder, and ruled mentally unfit to stand trial.

He had been released from a mental hospital 10 days before the murder. At that time, mental-health professionals said he was a danger to himself and others.

He was tried in 1972 before the late Judge Robert Feinberg, using the defense of insanity. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

At his most recent parole hearing, which was the first he had attended in eight years, he denied killing Laura with a hatchet and sexually molesting her. He said he hit her with his truck.

The Parole Board noted in its April ruling: "During the interview, you demonstrated little remorse and accepted no responsibility for your deviant actions."

botsford@westelcom.com

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