Terror victim speaks out on deportation case

Vito Makauskas

The man who was kidnapped at gunpoint by Vito Makauskas in 2004 has no sympathy for the elderly convict now trying to fight deportation to Lithuania. Jim Gardner says Makauskas is a "mean drunk" who often abused his own family. "He imposes his will on people...He's akin to Hitler. If you don't do what he says, all hell breaks loose." Gardner told Action News.

At the age of 74, and in failing health, Makauskas is nearing the end of a five-year sentence for kidnapping. He's making a desperate plea to Governor David Paterson's office to block his pending deportation to Lithuania, a country his family fled as refugees during World War II. Makauskas was just two years old at the time.

Though he never became an official American citizen, for more than 60 years, Makauskas lived, worked, paid taxes and raised a large family in the Rochester area. He feels it would be an injustice to be deported, left to die in Lithuania, separated from the family he loves.

Gardner has no sympathy and after watching the story that aired on Action News Thursday, intends to write to the Governor himself. "He shoved it in my mouth and said, I'm going to blow your freaking brains out. He terrorized me."

Gardner supports the effort by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement which requires deportation for convicts who commit certain crimes. "I didn't convict him. Judge Kehoe convicted him. New York State convicted him. He did commit those crimes."

Makauskas is due to be transferred to a federal detention facility in September where he will await deportation to Lithuania.

A spokesperson for Governor Paterson says the office has no comment.