The fate of drunk-driving killer Marco Muzzo is in the hands of Superior Court Justice Michelle Fuerst, who will hand down her sentence March 29.

During three days of sentencing submissions last week in Newmarket. Crown attorney Paul Tait said a 10-to-12-year sentence would send an appropriate message.

Mr. Muzzo pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm in the deaths of Daniel, Harrison and Milagros Neville-Lake, and their grandfather Gary Neville in the horrific Sept. 27, 2015 crash in Vaughan.

Mr. Muzzo himself spoke for the first time last Wednesday since his arrest and incarceration. He delivered a page-long apology to the families of the lives he destroyed.

In a packed courtroom, Justice Fuerst heard from the crown, the defence, the victims’ family and the offender himself.

After hearing emotional victim impact statements from the Neville-Lake family the day before, Mr. Muzzo took to the witness stand last Wednesday to give his statement.

“I stand here before you today with great remorse, sympathy and unimaginable regret,” Muzzo began. “As I listened with horror yesterday to the details of the catastrophic consequences of my actions, I knew that my words would be of no consolation. Ever since the tragedy that occurred as a result of my inexcusable conduct, I have wanted to say that I am sorry and apologize to your family from the bottom of my heart … I know that there are no actions that can ever change what has happened.”

He expressed wishing he could turn back the hands of time.

“I know that there are no steps that I can take to bring back your children Daniel, Harrison, and Millie Neville-Lake and your father Gary Neville – I pray that I could – but I cannot,” he said. “I wish that I could undo the heartbreaking experiences that your mother Neriza Neville and grandmother Josephina Frias had to witness and continue to live through. I am tortured by the grief and the pain that I have caused your entire family and the tragic effect that this has had on so many others and its impact upon the community.”

He told the court he will spend the rest of his life atoning for his conduct and devote himself to educating the public on the “disastrous consequences of drinking and driving.”

“I will forever be haunted by the reality of what I have done and I am truly sorry,” he concluded.

Jennifer Neville-Lake and her husband Edward walked out of the courtroom before they could hear what Mr. Muzzo had to say.

“I don’t want to listen to the man who is responsible for killing my children,” Jennifer said outside the courthouse. “There is nothing he can say. His actions spoke louder than words.”

In the courtroom, Crown Attorney Paul Tait said Justice Fuerst has the challenging task of determining a suitable sentence. He said Mr. Muzzo had many options that day; he could have taken a taxi or a limo or asked someone to pick him up but instead, in an act of “extreme selfishness,” he chose to get behind the wheel.

“This tragedy of almost incomprehensible scope could have been avoided,” Mr. Tait stated, adding the Crown deliberately avoided using the word “accident” when describing the crash. “Every drunk driver makes a choice and in this case the choice resulted in catastrophic consequences for the victims’ family. The next generation of the Neville-Lake family was wiped out in one fell swoop … No sentence fashioned by any court would address this catastrophic loss.”

He said a penitentiary sentence of 10 to 12 years would be “fit and proper,” and suggested the judge could set a precedent by imposing a higher sentence, pointing out that there is no maximum sentence for impaired driving as each case and the circumstances surrounding it are individualized. He also asked for an eight-to-12-year driving prohibition. That, he noted, would send a strong message.

“It is time to send a message,” Tait concluded.

After Mr. Muzzo read his statement, his lawyer, Brian Greenspan, presented 92 letters of support, from his priest, family, friends and employees. Many of the letters reiterated the idea that Mr. Muzzo “is a very good person who made a terrible decision.”

Mr. Greenspan attempted to show a side of Mr. Muzzo that is contrary to how he has been portrayed in the media. The letters described him as humble, kind, hard-working and always willing to help anyone in need. His counsel said he is “grief-stricken” and remorseful for his actions which led to the deaths of four people.

His uncle Marc Muzzo submitted a letter stating public perception of his nephew is “unfair” and “unwarranted.” He explained the context of a photo of Mr. Muzzo in a Ferrari that the media shows again and again. He said the Ferrari was his late father’s sports car and the son drives it once a year to a fundraiser in his honour, Motoamore, which has raised $4 million for cancer research.

Mr. Greenspan suggested an eight-year sentence would be more in line, especially since Mr. Muzzo “accepted responsibility from the first moment and never deviated from that guilty plea.” He pointed out that pleading guilty spared the family having to go through a trial. He added that his client had no prior criminal record.

Last updated on: 2016-03-26 | Link to this post