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Ex-convict granted early parole release

Last modified: 12/30/2011 12:00:00 AM
Ex-convict Michael Guglielmo, who was imprisoned for firing a machine gun at police officers in 1985 but has devoted himself to recruiting bone marrow donors after a transplant saved his baby son, was granted early release from parole yesterday, ending his punishment three years early.

'It feels like freedom,' Guglielmo said yesterday, after hearing the news from his parole officer. 'Besides the birth of my child, I cannot think of another thing more moving in my life.'

Guglielmo, who is 49 and lives in Belmont, was paroled in 2003 after serving 17 years in prison for shooting up a Manchester neighborhood during a standoff with a SWAT team.

He was due to remain on parole until the end of 2014, but the state parole board approved his request for an early discharge, which became effective yesterday, said prison spokesman Jeff Lyons.

Lyons said corrections officials reviewed Guglielmo's case and recommended his early discharge. While he couldn't elaborate yesterday on the reasons behind the department's recommendation, Lyons said it likely came down to Guglielmo's record in the 8« years he's spent on parole.

'We recommend early discharge based on good behavior, that's the bottom line,' Lyons said.

Since leaving prison, Guglielmo returned on a parole violation once. In 2009, he got into a fight with guests of his tenants, who were having a party on a property he owns on Rumford Street.

Guglielmo, who was stabbed during the fight, spent five weeks in prison before he was again paroled. He later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a violation-level offense, and received a fine as his sentence.

But Guglielmo said the experience that has defined his years on parole is the work he describes as his 'true calling' - recruiting bone marrow donors.

His efforts began in 2006, when his first child, Giovanni, was born with a rare immune deficiency disorder and needed a bone marrow transplant to stay alive.

Guglielmo, determined to find a donor, publicized his son's plight, drawing widespread media attention. His quest led to a match for his son, who came home from the hospital the following year.

Guglielmo, however, continued to champion bone marrow drives. Besides running a small construction business, he volunteers to recruit donors for a New York-based bone marrow center and has become the single largest bone marrow donor recruiter in the United States, according to Wolfgang Billstein, CEO of the DKMS Americas bone marrow center.

Billstein wrote a letter to the parole board asking that Guglielmo be discharged early from parole, which he said would allow the organization to hire Guglielmo, according to a copy of the letter Guglielmo provided the Monitor.

Also sending a letter of support was Dale Robinson, who retired as a deputy chief of police in Manchester in 2002.

Robinson gave his department's sniper the authority to shoot Guglielmo during the standoff in 1985, when Guglielmo refused to surrender to the police and fired off 200 rounds from a machine gun in the direction of officers.

Robinson testified against Guglielmo at his parole hearing in 2003, but in the years since his release, 'I have had several opportunities to talk to him and have been very impressed with the devotion to his son,' Robinson wrote in the letter, a copy of which Guglielmo provided the Monitor.

Robinson said in the letter that he did not want to minimize Guglielmo's past conduct but didn't think that keeping him on parole served the public interest.

'Consequently, I support the early termination of his parole at this time, and truly believe Michael is rehabilitated and should be given a chance to pursue other career/employment opportunities that are now blocked by his parole status,' Robinson said in the letter.

(Maddie Hanna can be reached at 369-3321 or mhanna@cmonitor.com.)


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