A family’s fight for justice, continued

Slain cop’s children urge parole board to keep killer in prison


Every two years, Matthew Giglio’s now grown children publicly urge the state Board of Parole to deny their father’s killer a chance to be released from the prison in which he has been locked up since 1975. On May 16, they — along with local law enforcement leaders and elected officials — spoke out once again.

“Why would we allow this person that killed a man to come out of jail and kill another?” asked Doreen Giglio-Velardi, the eldest of Giglio’s three children, at Nassau County Police Benevolent Association headquarters in Mineola.

Giglio — after whom the triangular park on the Elmont-Franklin Square border, off the Southern State Parkway, is named — was a Nassau County police officer who was killed in the line of duty. On Oct. 7, 1975, he responded to a robbery of a store in West Hempstead, and was shot in the chest once by 29-year-old John MacKenzie, of Whitestone, Queens, who was fleeing the scene. Giglio, 35, who lived in Valley Stream, was rushed to Mercy Hospital in Rockville Centre, where he succumbed to his injuries that December. He was survived by his wife, Phyllis, and his children, Doreen, Regina and Matthew, who were 10, 8 and 4 at the time.

To this day, the children lead a biannual letter-writing campaign to keep their father’s killer in jail. So far, MacKenzie, who completed the minimum of a 25-years-to-life sentence in 2000, has been denied parole seven times.

“The most difficult thing to do is to lose a loved one, especially when [children] are so young,” PBA President James Carver said. “John wants to get out of prison to enjoy the things that this family cannot.”

“Let’s keep MacKenzie in jail to ensure there will be one less act of violence in the world,” said Giglio-Velardi. “Twenty-five-to-life is an easy sentence compared to the sentence my family and I have had.”

The parole board will hear MacKenzie’s plea next month.

“Let him find God in jail,” Doreen said. “We do not need him on the streets.”