‘Chair girl’ pleads guilty in case of objects tossed off Toronto highrise
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Friday, November 15, 2019 9:07AM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 15, 2019 2:11PM EST
A young woman accused of hurling chairs and other objects off a highrise balcony overlooking a busy downtown Toronto highway pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of mischief endangering life.
Marcella Zoia, 19, walked into court at Old City Hall Friday dressed in black and wearing large dark sunglasses. She said little to reporters.
Zoia turned herself in to police back in February after video emerged showing a woman throwing two chairs and other objects down toward the Gardiner Expressway.
The incident occurred at a building near Harbour and York streets on February 9. Luckily, the chairs did not land on any vehicles or cause any injuries. At the time, police called the incident “callous” and said the results could have been “horrific” if the falling objects had landed on someone or caused a collision.
Zoia was charged with mischief endangering life, mischief endangering property under $5,000 and common nuisance.
Speaking outside the courthouse after Zoia pleaded guilty to mischief endangering life, her lawyer Greg Leslie said the other two charges will be withdrawn.
“This is a first step, a necessary step that shows she is remorseful,” Leslie said.
He said his client has learned and “matured” from the experience and suffers from anxiety because of the case.
Leslie said that while Zoia could receive a suspended sentence in the case, the Crown is seeking jail time.
“We’ve known for a while that the Crown is seeking up to six months in jail,” Leslie said, adding that that was not an outcome he could accept for his client.
Zoia was released on $2,000 bail back in February on the condition that she live with her mother and have no contact with four other parties named in the incident. She was also barred from attending the Maple Leaf Square Condos, where the incident happened. Those conditions remain in place.
The video depicting the incident went viral and sparked outrage online, with the perpetrator dubbed “chair girl.”
Zoia was also tossed out of a school where she was studying to be a dental hygienist and has not been allowed to return.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Leslie described the chair tossing incident as a case of “peer pressure” and noted that at the time Zoia was either 18 or 19.
“She is a young lady who made a mistake,” he said. “When you deal with persons of her age, one of the factors the judge has to examine is rehabilitation. In my opinion she is a changed woman and she will be doing much better.”
He said Zoia modelled before the incident and continues to receive modeling contracts, though he couldn’t say whether any of those contracts have resulted from coverage of the chair tossing incident.
The case will return to court for sentencing on Jan. 14.