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Macon not charged for murder of 5 women

March 1, 2010

Macon

Although prosecutors believe there is evidence linking convicted murderer Matthew Macon to the slayings of five women spanning almost five years in Lansing, he will not be charged in the cases.

At a somber press conference Monday, Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III said the prosecutor’s office believed Macon was responsible for the deaths, but there would be no additional sentence he could receive under Michigan law. Macon already is serving a life sentence for the killings of Sandra Eichorn and Karen Delgado-Yates, which he was convicted of in 2008.

Macon is tied to the murders of five women ­— Ruth Hallman, Barbara Jean Tuttle, Deborah Cooke, Debra Renfors and Carolyn Kronenberg.

Lansing resident Claude McCollum was convicted in 2006 of the murder of Kronenberg, a Lansing Community College professor, but Dunnings said Macon confessed to the killing. McCollum spent about a year and half in prison after his conviction before he was released in 2007. Shortly after, Macon was put on trial for the murders of Eichorn and Delgado-Yates.

Dunnings said his decision was based on the fact Macon could not receive any additional sentencing under Michigan state law, so even if convicted, he could not serve any more jail time than already allotted. Dunnings said he consulted with members of the Lansing Police Department, families of the victims and his staff before making his decision.

“He could have every opportunity to turn the court proceedings into a spectacle and to belittle and intimidate the survivors of his victims,” Dunnings said. “Following the conclusion of such a spectacle, regardless of the outcome of a trial, the prisoner would return to his prison cell to spend the rest of his life.”

Some family members of the victims were upset they will not have the chance for closure.

With tears in her eyes, Lansing City Councilmember Carol Wood spoke about her mother, Ruth Hallman, who was killed in her home after offering Macon a glass of water. Wood said her family wanted to move forward with a trial against Macon, and said they feel like “victims all over again” not being able to bring Macon to justice.

“For us, we will never be the same,” Wood said. “There is no sentence that will bring her back. Her voice will not be heard in that courtroom.”

Lansing police Chief Mark Alley supported Dunnings’ decision to not go forward with the charges, despite the case being very difficult for everyone involved, especially the families.

“I understand the emotions that the families are feeling right now and I don’t minimize those,” Alley said. “But he had a very difficult decision to make. He made what he felt was the best decision and I’m certainly not going to sit here and second guess the decision that he made on this.”

Karen Delgado-Yates’ brother, Douglas Redmon, said although Macon was convicted for the murder of his sister, it pained him to know the families of the five other women would never get to feel a sense of closure that he and his family felt.

“They’re never going to feel even as remotely of a closed feeling and I’m never going to feel it either because I’m involved with these families.” Redmon said. “We’re all family now.”

Staff writer Zack Colman contributed to this report

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