Sunday, August 28, 2005

What's Your Excuse?

On August 24th, 2005 a fight happened outside a McDonald's in Pasco county, Florida between Martin Robless-Taylor and Anthony Makowski. I'm sure fights happen all the time, but this fight was different than most in that Anthony Makowski was killed. What makes this the subject of this blog is that the Florida State Attorney's Office isn't going to prosecute Martin Robless-Taylor because they are calling it an "excusable homocide".

A homicide is excusable when it is committed by accident in the course of doing any lawful act by lawful means or by accident in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation or upon a sudden combat without any dangerous weapon being used and not being done in a cruel or unusual manner.

Allegedly Makowski was the aggressor. Being 6 foot 4, 271 pounds, and 4 years younger than Robless-Taylor this might be easy to believe. The video from the drive-thru at the McDonald's recorded the incident, so it's not going to be hard to figure who was the aggressor.

"We enhanced the tape and the young man always doing the beating is the one who died," the Florida State Att orney's Office said. "It's self-explanatory."

Makowski died because Robless-Taylor put him in a choke hold. (supposedly only to stop Makowski from beating on him) Prosecutors say the videotape shows Makowski charging Robless-Taylor, then battering and body-slamming him. When Makowski jumped on top of Robless-Taylor (an Army-trained 25-year-old), Robless-Taylor put him into a choke hold.

Witnesses said the choke hold lasted from two to three minutes.

Robless-Taylor would have received training in hand-to-hand combat while in the military. Robless-Taylor would have been taught that it only takes 10 - 15 seconds to knock a person out with a choke hold. When the brain is denied blood flow and oxygen for two to three minutes it will cause death. It is unreasonable (or should I say impossible) for Robless-Taylor to not know this. It's the same as if a golden glove boxer kills a person in a street fight. The "victim" should be held to a higher standard because of his military training. Reasonable force to restrain Makowski would have stopped way short of "two to three minutes".

I'm trying to think which offense is more criminal: Robless-Taylor going too far to restrain Makowski or the Florida State Attorney that isn't prosecuting this case.

The fight began when Makowski was in a car behind Robless-Taylor, at the McDonald's drive-through, said Bruce Bartlett of the Florida's State Attorney's Office. "Mr. Makowski became agitated when it took longer, and he started to blow the horn although they were waiting for the McDonald's people," Bartlett said. "Words exchanged, and ultimately the victim's car pulled over and Martin Robless-Taylor walked toward the victim and the victim started to hit him on his face and continued to strike."

Alcohol may have fueled the brawl. Makowski's blood-alcohol level was 0.14, according to a sheriff's report. The attorney's office said all four men involved in the altercation had been drinking.

What isn't sure is the blood-alcohol level of Robless-Taylor. Is that because the police never bothered to find out? I'm not the only one who is offended that the prosecutor isn't putting much effort into this death. The parents of Anthony Makowski are outraged, as they should be.

Wayne and Cathy Makowski, are calling the lack of investigation a cover-up. "It's not a fair investigation and this is extreme injustice," Cathy Makowski told "Good Morning America.

"You really need to take that video frame by frame," Cathy Makowski said. "If you look at it slowly, you are going to see him [Anthony Makowski] not coming out like the state attorney would say, punching."

"The family is not happy," the state attorney's office acknowledged in a statement. "But legally speaking, we don't have a basis to pursue this case."

"That's nonsense," Wayne Makowski said. "The prosecutors need to bring the case to a grand jury, and those citizens need to decide if this is murder and should be tried … If they agree with the state attorney's office then that's fine, but this is an extreme abuse of justice."

If you feel this is an outrage, htne feel free to contact these people to complain:

State of Florida, State Attorney's Office, 13th Judicial Circuit
800 E. Kennedy Blvd.Tampa, FL 33602-4146
(813) 272-5400
(813) 222-2157

One final note is that looking at the video you can see about 10 people watching the fight. Why didn't they stop the fight? Why didn't they call the police sooner? Why didn't the guy in the car at the drive-thru do SOMETHING other than just gawk at the fight?

These people share some blame in Anthony Makowski's death, but Martin Robless-Taylor should be under arrest for murder.