Nassau cop's killer again up for parole

Officer Matthew Giglio died of gunshot wounds received

Officer Matthew Giglio died of gunshot wounds received while backing up other officers on a burglary call on Dec. 16, 1975. His killer, John MacKenzie, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life. Photo Credit: NCPD

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For the sixth time in a decade, the man who gunned down a Nassau County police officer in 1975 will be considered next week to be paroled from his upstate prison cell.

And for the sixth time in a decade, the slain cop's family will rally Friday against releasing the killer.

John MacKenzie, who was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for killing Patrolman Matthew Giglio while fleeing a burglary in West Hempstead, says he's the ideal candidate for parole under the law: good deeds in prison, college degrees earned in lockup, a spotless disciplinary history, and deep regret for his crime.

But regret doesn't bring back Giglio to his still-heartbroken family, said James Carver, president of the Nassau Police Benevolent Association.

"He should be incarcerated forever. The children of Matt Giglio haven't been able to spend Christmas with their father . . . all these years," Carver said Thursday. "He shouldn't be able to celebrate his life as a free man."

Inmate John MacKenzie in an inmate visiting room in the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Sullivan County, N.Y (June 6, 2008) Photo Credit: Newsday/Matthew Chayes

To make sure MacKenzie isn't freed, Carver will join Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, Giglio's family and others for a rally Friday morning at the union's Mineola headquarters.

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The parole board has received a dozen letters opposing parole for MacKenzie, who has served almost 35 years in prison, and none in favor of it, said parole spokeswoman Carole Weaver.

Because of MacKenzie's indeterminate prison sentence, his fate is decided by the board every two years until he's released or he dies.

In a jailhouse interview in June 2008, the last time he was considered for and denied parole, MacKenzie told Newsday he's been repeatedly rejected for release from the medium-security Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Sullivan County because it's politically disastrous to free a cop killer, regardless of the prisoner's merits.

MacKenzie, then 29, shot Giglio, 35, in October 1975 while fleeing the burglary. MacKenzie fired his gun when Giglio responded to the scene and confronted him. In becoming the 24th Nassau cop to die from injuries suffered in the line of duty, Giglio left behind a widow and three children.

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