Muzzo has severely underestimated his problems with alcohol: parole decision
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, November 20, 2018 3:55PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 20, 2018 9:51PM EST
Convicted drunk driver Marco Muzzo has ‘sabotaged’ his rehabilitation by “severely underestimating” his problems with alcohol and failing to seek help while behind bars, according to the newly-released written decision denying him parole.
On Nov. 7, the Parole Board of Canada denied Muzzo both day parole and full parole on the 10-year sentence that he was given in connection with a deadly 2015 crash in Vaughan. Four people were killed in that collision: nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, five-year-old Harrison Neville-Lake, two-year-old Milly Neville-Lake, and their 65-year-old grandfather Gary Neville. The children’s grandmother and great-grandmother were also injured in the crash.
The reasons behind the decision were not immediately released but in a written copy obtained by CTV News Toronto, the three-member panel cites Muzzo’s “lack of insight” into his problems with alcohol and says that he must enter into a treatment program “prior to further consideration of a day or full parole release,” given the severity of the offence.
It should be noted that the report does point out that Muzzo did participate in voluntary 12-Step programs while incarcerated but it says that he opted not to enroll in Alcoholics Anonymous, a decision that led panel members to “question the gains” he has made given his “largely unaddressed risk factors.”
“You have maintained from the very outset that you are not addicted to alcohol and while this may be true, your continued rigidity and lack of insight as to what that definition may mean has prevented you from recognizing that an actual problem exists,” the report states. “During the hearing, for the first time since you were arrested, you outlined a significant history of binge drinking and this, coupled with your lack of understanding of the issue of impairment, leads the board to conclude your risk remains undue.”
Muzzo had driven drunk before
Muzzo was on his way home from the airport after returning from his bachelor party in Miami when the fatal crash occurred. A toxicology report that was included in an agreed statement of facts at his sentencing revealed that he was three times above the legal limit for alcohol at the time.
The report released on Tuesday says that while Muzzo categorized himself as a “conservative and responsible drinker,” an examination of his drinking habits at his parole hearing suggested that his “alcohol abuse or misuse was more serious.”
The report said that Muzzo, by his own admission, tended to “get wasted” on his birthdays and had been “significantly drunk” on more than 10 but less 20 occasions. The report also referenced his admission to driving impaired on occasions prior to the 2015 collision but said that he “minimized” the seriousness of those decisions by suggesting that it was only a “small handful of times.”
Finally, the report singled out Muzzo’s contention that he would need to consume eight or nine drinks before he would consider himself impaired in the context of driving, though it said that he later clarified that he would be “wasted” after consuming that many drinks.
“In any event, in our view, it was clear you lack insight into the volume and frequency of your drinking and the risk it poses for you and others,” the report concludes.
Muzzo said he would never drink again
Muzzo expressed remorse for his actions and vowed never to consume alcohol again during his appearance before the board on Nov. 7.
While the report states that panel members felt that Muzzo was genuine in his regret and did seem to “understand the pain” he has caused, it adds that members would have liked to have seen evidence of “some program completion designed to address substance abuse or misuse.”
Specifically, the report points out that Muzzo’s inability to discuss his “triggers or risk factors” when it comes to alcohol abuse “reflect the very real need for programming.”
The report also says that the panel would have liked to see some efforts on Muzzo’s part to deal with “moderate” post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms that he has exhibited in the wake of the deadly collision.
“We remain unclear on how you will deal with coping with the reality of your offending when you return to a community setting,” the report says.
In addition to expressing concern over Muzzo’s past drinking, the report also criticized him for a “lack of transparency” regarding a 2012 altercation at a Vaughan nightclub, which led to him being charged with being intoxicated in a public place.
Muzzo has six months to appeal the parole board’s decision. He will be eligible to reapply for parole in one year.