(WXYZ) - Governor Jennifer Granholm has halted commutation proceedings for a man who was convicted of murder more than 20 years ago.
Granholm's spokesperson Liz Boyd released a statement saying, "The commutation process has been halted. Based on the fact that the Parole and Commutation Board did not hear the objections of either the victim's family or the Wayne County Proscecutor, Inmate Maksowski will not be released. Before any futher commutation action is considered, a public hearing would need to be held to give the victim's family and the prosecutor an opportunity to object. That hearing will not occur in 2010. Therefore, this matter won't be examined further by Governor Granholm."
Word that Makowski was granted a commuted sentence sparked outrage for the family of the young man he was convicted of killing. Back in 1989, the judge who sentenced Makowski to life in prison said Makowski should never receive a pardon or a commutation for his life sentence.
“This is tearing the family apart. Right now we are at the point, where we want to drive to Lansing to talk to Governor Granholm,” said Larry Puma.
Puma says his family has never recovered from the murder of his nephew, Peter Puma. The 19-year-old was stabbed to death in a robbery after leaving his job at a health club in Dearborn in 1988. Three men were ultimately convicted. While he didn’t do the stabbing himself, police said Peter’s boss, Matthew Makowski, was the ringleader.
“He set up the whole thing. He had Peter take the money to the drug store, to get a money order, he set up the time he was going to do it, he was going to use the money to take his girlfriend skiing, and the three of them split the $750. My nephew was killed for $750,” said Puma.
The latest drama began on Wednesday when Governor Granholm followed the recommendation of the parole board and commuted Makowski’s sentence. That meant he could have be paroled within weeks.
The Wayne County Prosecutor strongly opposed the commutation, saying it should “not be granted” because Makowski was “the mastermind behind the crime, and was the main cause of the death of the victim.”
The Puma family said they were outraged because they were never told about an October parole board hearing – and no one from the state alerted them that Makowski would be set free.
“We feel there wasn’t much effort done by the Parole Board or the Department of Corrections, it’s easy to Google someone’s name in this family, and find them. We’re in Michigan. We feel there was probably a lot of effort to release him, more than there was to keep him in jail. We feel it was swept under the carpet, and there was a lot of money used to get him paroled,” said Puma.
Yesterday,the governor’s spokeswoman released this statement to the Action News Investigators: “While the Department of Corrections has indicated that requirements of the Crime Victim’s Rights Act were satisfied in processing the application and conducting the public hearing, we are attempting to determine if and why any victim family members were not notified.”
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