Florida prosecutors say they will not try the man who choked another man to death during a fight in a McDonald's parking lot.
The April 24, 2005, fight between Martin Robless-Taylor and Anthony Makowski, who died from strangulation, was caught on tape by a security camera in the Pasco County McDonald's parking lot. Because the tape shows Makowski to be the aggressor, the Florida State Attorney's office on Monday ruled the death an "excusable homicide."
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.
"We enhanced the tape and the young man always doing the beating is the one who died," the Florida State Attorney's Office said. "It's self-explanatory."
Makowski's grief-stricken parents, 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" today.
Prosecutors say the videotape shows Makowski charging Robless-Taylor, then battering and body-slamming him. When 21-year-old Makowski, 6-foot-4, 271 pounds, 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.
Police said Makowski was unresponsive when they arrived at 4:41 a.m., but was moaning and breathing. Moments later, as paramedics showed up, police said Makowski stopped breathing and paramedics began CPR.
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.
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."
Wayne and Cathy Makowski said their son was defending himself.
"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."