Inmate in 1976 rape, murder is denied parole for fifth time

Kim Montelaro of New Milford was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 1976. Photo courtesy of the Montelaro family.

The family of a young woman raped and stabbed to death more than 35 years ago is waging a legal battle to keep her killer in prison.

Christopher Righetti, of River Vale, is serving a life sentence in Northern State Prison, Newark, for the 1976 kidnapping, rape and murder of 20-year-old Kim Montelaro, 20, of New Milford. According to published reports, Montelaro was kidnapped from the Paramus Park Mall and later sexually assaulted and stabbed six times. Her body was dumped in a Washington Township swimming area, according to published reports.

Righetti was 16 at the time of the crime. But he was tried as an adult and convicted.

Christopher Righetti has been denied parole five times. Photo via New Jersey Department of Corrections.

In spite of a life sentence, Righetti has come up for parole five times over the years, the last time on June 25, 2012. He has been denied parole each time. At his latest hearing the board was presented with a petition, signed by more than 3,000 people, to keep Righetti in prison.

Montelaro’s elderly parents, Tony and Alice, have made trips to Trenton over the years to testify at parole hearings.

A Washington Township group has created the website “Keep NJ Safe,” (formerly “Keep Bergen Safe”) in part to make sure that dangerous killers like Righetti remain incarcerated. Visitors to the site are asked to write letters to keep Righetti in prison.

Paramus Park Mall as it appeared in the 1970s.