CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio woman, found guilty of murder in connection with a fatal crash in which she intentionally drove her car into a brick wall at 100 mph, has received a prison sentence of 15 years to life.
Mackenzie Shirilla, aged 19, but 17 at the time of the July 2022 incident in Strongsville, a Cleveland suburb, was convicted last week on charges including murder, felonious assault, aggravated vehicular homicide, and other offenses.
The crash resulted in the deaths of her boyfriend, Dominic Russo, 20, and her friend Davion Flanagan, 19. Prosecutor Tim Troup argued that the crash was a result of Shirilla’s troubled relationship with Russo and that she intended to end it, taking everyone in the car with her.
Judge Nancy Margaret Russo of the Common Pleas Court, describing the act as “controlled, methodical, deliberate, intentional, and purposeful,” ruled last week that the incident was not reckless driving but rather murder.
During sentencing on Monday, Judge Russo stated that she was giving Shirilla concurrent sentences for the two deaths, but believed that parole was unlikely after 15 years. She indicated that Shirilla could potentially spend the rest of her life in prison, depending on her behavior and the parole board’s decision.
In her statement, Shirilla, who did not testify during the trial, expressed tearful remorse and apologized to the victims’ families. She stated she would never have allowed the incident to happen intentionally and wished she could remember the details.
Defense attorney James McDonnell, during the trial, contended that there was no evidence to prove that Shirilla intended to kill her passengers or the circumstances leading up to the crash. He also highlighted that she was 17 at the time with no prior record and had been a model prisoner since.
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