Convicted killer's life sentence commuted, victim's family speaks out weeks before he walks free

Posted at 10:26 PM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-19 23:12:22-04

A family is speaking out just weeks before the release of a convicted killer. Mathew Makowski was convicted of first degree murder in 1989 in the death of his co-worker.

The Puma family says it’s been a hard and painful process. First dealing with the death of Pietro Puma, and now the release of his killer.

Anthony Puma says he still remembers the day like it was yesterday .

"I was livid. I rode my bike to the hospital to find out that he had been stabbed and that he was undergoing surgery," Puma said.

His brother Pietro was murdered in 1989 by a fellow employee at a Vic Tanny health club in Dearborn.

"Later in the evening, Matt Makowski showed up sitting their talking to us about who could do such a thing and we’ll get to the bottom of this, that he was a good friend of Pete’s," Puma said. 

Mathew Makowski was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, then his sentence was commuted by former Governor Jennifer Granholm in 2010.  

"Me having to go to the parole board every two years and talk my peace, and why I think this man should remain in prison – it made me think that, ya know, this was her fault," Puma said.

Granholm later tried overturning her decision, but in 2014 the Michigan Supreme Court said she couldn’t do that, leading to the possibility of parole for Makowski.

"They decided in his favor that yes, she violated his rights, that a Governor doesn’t have the power to revoke a commutation after signing it," Puma said.

Attorney General Bill Schuette also became involved by sending a letter to the MDOC Parole Board asking them to reconsider on behalf of the victim’s family. 

"You’re releasing this prisoner on the same facts that he was incarcerated. He was a leader, a manipulator, a sociopath and because he’s been a model prisoner, a leader in the programs. It doesn’t seem like he’s changed at all," Puma said.

Makowski was supposed to be granted parole on Sept. 20, that date has now been moved to Oct. 2.