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Elected officials in Michigan targeted with death threats from prisoner

Lansing City Councilwoman Carol Wood, whose mother was allegedly murdered by convicted serial killer Matthew Macon in 2007, says that Macon has now threatened her life as well as that of an Ingham County Prosecutor.

Wood says she was notified in late August by the prosecutor’s office about a “concrete threat against Catherine Emerson [Ingham County's Chief Deputy Prosecutor] and myself.”

“They said that they had received a letter on that threat and that it would be turned over to the Michigan State Police Major Crime Task Force,” Wood said.

Michigan State Police spokesperson Shannon Banner issued the following statement related to the threat and the investigation:

The MSP Major Case Team is investigating threats made by Matthew Macon from prison. This is currently an open investigation so there are no other details to release.

While MSP is being tight-lipped about the case, Wood said the threat was very specific. She says the letter indicated that Macon planned to have Wood and Emerson kidnapped, then killed “in the similar manner to the crimes he was convicted of. Similar to what happened to my mom.”

Wood’s mother, Ruth Hallman, was found bludgeoned to death in her west side home in 2007.

Macon was convicted in May of 2008 for the 2007 murders Sandra Eichorn, 64, and Karen Delgado-Yates, 41, as well as assault with intent to commit murder in an attack on Linda Chapel Jackson, 56.

Macon confessed to the murders of the two women as well as the killing of five other women — Hallman, Barbara Jean Tuttle, Deborah Cooke, Debra Renfors and Carolyn Kronenberg.

Another man, Claude McCollum, was originally convicted of the 2005 murder of Carolyn Kronenberg. She was a professor at Lansing Community College was found sexually assaulted and murdered in a classroom in a building on the college’s downtown campus. McCollum was ultimately cleared of the charges for which he served time after allegations of misconduct against the prosecutor’s office proved true. Prosecutors had wrongfully withheld video evidence showing McCollum was no where near the room at the time Kronenberg was raped and murdered.

Macon is currently serving his life sentences in the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kincheloe in the upper peninsula, according to the Michigan MDOC website.

In March of 2010, after the Michigan Supreme Court upheld Macon’s convictions, prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III announced he would not seek additional charges for the murders of the other women. The State News reported at the time:

“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.”

Wood says Macon is still causing a spectacle of sorts.

“He turned my life upside down,” she said, noting that since being notified of the threat she has emotionally relived the murder of her mother, had to prepare her children for her own potential murder and constantly had to question whether or not it was safe to leave her house. “I was a prisoner in my house.”

Wood is not the only elected official being targeted by some in Michigan prisons.

On Friday, it was revealed that Democratic State Lawmaker Barb Byrum of Onondaga had been the target of a kidnapping and ransom plan by another prisoner. That prisoner thought the kidnapping could win his freedom, as well as earn him some cash.

Michigan State Police and the Michigan Department of Corrections were made aware of the situation, and MSP conducted a sting operation on the inmate.

Byrum issued a terse statement on Friday about the case:

“I want to thank the Michigan State Police for uncovering this plot. Because this is an active and ongoing investigation, and to protect the privacy of my family, I will be making no further comments about this matter.”

Police say they will be seeking criminal charges against the inmate in the Byrum threat case.

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