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Gov Changes Mind, Convicted Murderer To Remain Jailed

The brother of a murder victim says it's the best Christmas present he could get.  Anthony Puma learned Friday morning that a man convicted in the murder of his brother in 1988 will not be leaving prison. 

After receiving hundreds of comments from family and friends, Michigan Governor Granholm reversed her decision to commute the life sentence of Matt Makowski, who was convicted of plotting the fatal stabbing of Pete Puma in 1988. 

"The commutation process has been halted," a statement from the Governor said.  "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."

"Oh my god, I'm ecstatic," Anthony Puma told WWJ's Sandra McNeill late Friday morning.  "I was afraid for my family, my life and anybody in my family.

"I'm going to have the best Christmas in the world now,  I'm going to do the best Christmas I can, this is the biggest monkey that's been let off my back in years." 

Puma thanked Granholm "even though I was mad at her in the beginning."  Puma said Granholm was "blindsided" because she wasn't aware his family hadn't been notified about Makowski's commutation request and an October public hearing in the matter.

Corrections Department spokesman Russ Marlan said the decision effectively ends the process to release Makowski, since Granholm's term ends Jan. 1, and the Snyder administration said it doesn't want this case to carry over. Marlan said the parole board chair will contact Puma's family and invite them to make statements on the record either in a meeting or hearing.
"For all practical purposes (Makowski) has to start over," Marlan said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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