SANFORD, Fla. -- Before there was Stand Your Ground, there was "excusable homicide." But in the opinion of Cathy Makowski, the mother of another dead young man, they both lead to injustice.
Makowski came to the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center Saturday carrying a sign that read, "Stop Stand Your Ground Law Abuse." She believes the same legal justification that was initially invoked in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin helped excuse the strangulation of her only son, 21-year-old Anthony.
"It's the same thing -- the voice of the victim is never being heard. Only the voice of the aggressor."
Anthony Makowski was choked to death by Martin Robless-Taylor in 2005 after the two got into a confrontation at a Pasco County McDonald's drive thru. The State Attorney in that case determined that the death fell under the definition of excusable homicide, which is defined a death that occurs by accident in the heat of passion, without any dangerous weapon being used.
Makowski disputes the state's conclusion and has filed several related legal challenges. In the meantime, she is pushing to change Florida law.
The Saturday event was the first rally she's attended; she said she was "devastated" by her son's death, and too ill to attend previous protests. But she is optimistic the event will help put focus on her cause.
"We have to stop aggressors from walking away from violent crimes."
Ex-husband Wayne Makowski agreed. Gesturing at the crowd of Trayvon supporters, he observed, "Thank God these people at least got Trayvon's case in court. Whatever happens here, at least they got that much. We never did."