Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hero in Seminole County

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the outstanding work done by Seminole County Sheriff's Sgt. Mark Conway for his role in the Macchione case, about which I last blogged. I don't think I am exaggerating when I say that his actions and astute police work prevented Macchione's victim from a kidnapping, torturous sexual assault, and probable death.

On the evening of 9/19/09, Sgt. Conway was working an off-duty detail at one of UCF's student housing complexes.  He noticed the defendant, dressed in black, carrying a black backpack, and riding a bicycle aimlessly through the complex.  He stopped the suspect for questioning. After ascertaining that he was not a resident, nor visiting anyone in particular, Sgt. Conway arrested the defendant for loitering/prowling. 

He subsequently searched the backpack. In addition to the condoms, pornographic materials and other sexual paraphernalia, he found a video camera.

Upon reviewing the videos, Sgt. Conway became alarmed at their content. He described them as "chilling." They depicted the defendant in various locations addressing a young lady who was not present in the video. In one recording, Conway testified that the defendant said:
"What I like about you is that you're smart, you're prepared for a tragedy, and if something were to ever go horribly wrong, which could happen, you have a settled enough brain to deal with it.
"If you listen to me, you'd shed your Outback clothes for good. [the victim worked at an Outback Restaurant]
Suspecting that he was stalking a young lady, Sgt. Conway set out to identify and warn her of the situation.

He managed to identify and locate the victim, who must have been both relieved that law enforcement had taken notice and terrified that Macchione was still attempting to locate her.  He was surprised to learn that the extent of the relationship between the parties was merely one of a brief acquaintance.

Once he located her, she advised him of the YouTube videos that had been posted. She had been trying to bring a case against him (having received an injunction against him two months earlier), but had thus far been unsuccessful.

He testified that he believed that the video described in my last post, wherein Macchione "shot" the viewer and then himself with an imaginary gun, was depicting an event that could really occur.

Sgt. Conway contacted the Seminole State's Attorney Office to view the videos and potentially have the $300 bond for the loitering arrest increased. On 10/1/09, the defendant's bond was increased to $500 and modified to include GPS monitoring, and no contact with the victim.  Judge Mark Herr also prohibited him from UCF's campus and the victim's place of employment. Macchione subsequently pled guilty to the loitering charge and received a "time served" sentence of 41 days in jail. At this point, GPS monitoring and any restrictions put upon him by the Seminole Court were over.

As the case progressed, Sgt. Conway aided Orange County's prosecution by downloading the YouTube videos for their use and attended every hearing without requiring a subpoena.

Stalking Awareness Month
As one who has spoken with many victims attempting to deal with the terror that a stalker inflicts upon them, and law enforcement's all-too-frequent inability (perhaps unwillingness?) to investigate and build these difficult cases for prosecution, Sgt Conway's actions were extraordinary.

Although public awareness is greater than it once was and stalking laws have improved, most victims are often told "there's nothing we can do" when they call for help.

Kudos to Sgt. Conway. Words are inadequate to express our appreciation for the work you did in this case.

More: Fox-35 Report


  1. Sgt. Conway always goes above and beyond. He is an asset to the Seminole County Sheriffs Department.

  2. Sgt Conway is the epitome of dedication and professionalism. I feel safer knowing he is working to protect me, my family and the residents of Seminole County. Thank you Sgt. Conway.

  3. Amazing how simple it can be to communicate with people and have them understand a certain topic, you made my day.
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  4. Small bits of content which are explained in details, helps me understand the topic, thank you!


  5. I really do believe Sgt. Conway saved my life and I appreciate everything he as done to keep me safe. I was googling my case today and this was one of the results. Thank you for recognizing him. He deserves it!

    -Kristen Pratt