Neville-Lake family 'robbed of their reason for being,' judge says at Muzzo sentencing
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, March 29, 2016 5:37AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 29, 2016 4:12PM EDT
Marco Muzzo has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in connection with a drunk driving crash in Vaughan that killed three children and their grandfather last September.
The 29-year-old, who will be given credit for the eight months he already served, pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm on Feb. 4.
Speaking outside the courthouse Tuesday, the children's mother Jennifer Neville-Lake showed reporters a powerful photo of her children Harry and Milly holding hands in a hospital bed shortly before she and her husband shut off the machines that were keeping them alive.
"When I decided I had to turn the machines off so Milly’s heart wouldn’t explode, I couldn’t pick which baby to turn off the machines first," she said.
"They put (the two children) together and Edward and I crawled in to bed with them... Just like when we were there with them when they were born, we were there with both of them when they died."
In her tearful statement to media, Neville-Lake warned people not to make the same decision Muzzo made.
"His sentence is 10 years and none of my children saw 10 years," she said.
"When you choose to drink and drive, you are hurting other families. You are killing someone else’s babies like mine were killed. Like all of mine were killed on a beautiful Sunday afternoon."
Nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison and their two-year-old sister Milly were killed in the Sept. 27 crash along with their 65-year-old grandfather Gary Neville.
Muzzo was on his way home from the airport after his bachelor party in Miami when the Jeep he was travelling in slammed into the family's minivan at Kirby Road and Kipling Avenue in Kleinburg.
Breath samples taken two hours after he was arrested showed that Muzzo's blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.
His sentence includes a 12-year driving prohibition, which his lawyer Brian Greenspan says begins the day he is released from prison.
Greenspan added that Muzzo would be eligible for parole upon completion of one-third of his sentence and would be eligible for day parole six months prior.
Family 'robbed of their reason for being,' judge says
During the decision Tuesday, Justice Michelle Fuerst called the incident a “tragedy beyond comprehension.”
Fuerst quoted from victim impact statements delivered by the children's parents Jennifer Neville-Lake and Ed Neville-Lake at last month’s sentencing hearing.
She discussed how the couple missed tucking their kids in at night and getting them ready for school.
“Happy, positive people have been robbed of their reason for being,” Fuerst said.
Muzzo 'fully accepts' sentence, his lawyer says
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse Tuesday, Greenspan says his client took "full responsibility" for his actions and "fully accepts" the sentence that the judge imposed.
While delivering the sentence Tuesday, the judge summarized some of the 92 letters written in support of Muzzo, who she said displayed “considerable remorse.”
The letters, the judge said, paint a picture of a hard-working and humble young man who is compassionate and quick to help out an employee or a neighbour.
Fuerst said the letters also indicated that those close to him were not surprised he owned up to his mistake and pleaded guilty.
At the same time, the judge noted that Muzzo drove at an excessively high rate of speed and failed to stop at a stop sign that was visible.
She called his blood alcohol level “alarmingly high” and said he had 10 prior speeding infractions that should have deterred him from driving recklessly but did not.
His decision to drive while impaired had a “monumental” impact on the Neville-Lake family, she added.