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Rally to keep cop Matthew Giglio's killer in prison

Matthew Giglio, Regina Giglio and Doreen Giglio-Velardi, family

Matthew Giglio, Regina Giglio and Doreen Giglio-Velardi, family of slain Nassau County Police Officer Matthew Giglio, with Nassau County PBA president James Carver at the PBA headquarters to urge officials to keep convicted cop killer John MacKenzie in prison in Mineola. (May 30, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

The man who killed a Nassau police officer in 1975 is scheduled for a parole hearing next month -- and the officer's family and union are doing everything they can to keep him locked up.

It would be the seventh hearing for the killer, John MacKenzie, who admits he shot Patrolman Matthew Giglio following the burglary of a West Hempstead boutique.

MacKenzie, who has served 36 years of a 25-to-life prison sentence for shooting Giglio, 35, is eligible to appear before a parole board every two years.

Giglio died an agonizing death, spending his final weeks in the hospital with a ruptured colon and aorta and an amputated leg. Ten weeks after the October 1975 shooting, Giglio, on the job in Nassau for 11 years, became the 24th Nassau police officer to die from injuries sustained in the line of duty. He was survived by a wife and three children.

Losing a parent for anyone is terrible, but "to lose a parent at the hands of a madman like John MacKenzie makes it tremendously worse," said Doreen Giglio Velardi of New Jersey, who was 10 at the time.

Wednesday, Giglio's three children appeared at the union's headquarters in Mineola, showing photos of their father and news clippings about the case.

MacKenzie has said he merits parole under the law because of his spotless disciplinary history in prison, along with good deeds, higher-education degrees and profound regret.

Prison system spokeswoman Linda Foglia confirmed MacKenzie has never had a disciplinary write-up since the department computerized its records in the 1980s.

The union and Giglio's family said MacKenzie should be imprisoned as long as Giglio is gone: forever.

"Deny MacKenzie the right to ever see the outside of a jail cell again in his life, just like the family of Police Officer Giglio will never see him again," said James Carver, president of Giglio's union, the Nassau Police Benevolent Association, which represents rank-and-file officers.

In a 2008 interview with Newsday at the medium-security Woodbourne Correctional Facility upstate, where he remains imprisoned, MacKenzie, now 65, wept and said he regretted what he did at age 29 -- that he's worked with prisoners to show how their crimes affect victims.

But he said he's consigned to die in prison because he believes no parole official will take a politically untenable position to release a man who has slain a police officer.

"I can't ask for fairness. I can't ask for forgiveness. I can't ask for compassion. I can't ask for understanding," he said. "And why? Because it's going to fall on deaf ears."

He's been denied parole six previous times.

Foglia, the prison system spokeswoman, said the hearing is scheduled for the week of June 11 and a decision is expected by the end of that week.During the Newsday interview, MacKenzie called his odds of being granted parole "a snowball's chance in hell."

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