(ReliableNews.org) – In July 2022, then-17-year-old Mackenzie Shirilla was driving her Toyota Camry in the wee hours of the morning in Ohio with two other passengers: her boyfriend, Dominic Russo, and friend Davion Flanagan. Cleveland.com reported the teen slowed her car, turned on the blinker, made a turn, and floored it, smashing into a brick wall in Strongsville’s Progress Drive Business Park at 100 mph. Shirilla survived the crash — her passengers did not — and she was put on trial for murder.
On August 14, Cuyahoga County Judge Nancy Margaret Russo handed down Shirilla’s verdict, finding her guilty of 12 charges of murder, aggravated vehicular homicide, drug possession, and felonious assault. Although the judge didn’t relay the sentence at the hearing, the now-19-year-old’s conviction comes with an automatic life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 15 years. As Russo read off the charges, police in the courtroom stood the defendant up and handcuffed her.
During the reading of the verdict, the judge said Shirilla “had a mission, and she executed it.” Russo said that “mission was death,” while making it clear that the incident was no accident or case of reckless driving. Instead, the tragedy was “controlled” and “intentional.” Shirilla did not have a jury trial. Russo listened to the evidence, including a compelling and disturbing video, and decided the defendant’s fate.
Although doctors at the hospital during her recovery reportedly witnessed Shirilla displaying “grief, guilt, and shame,” the result was still the same. Her tears during the verdict reading also didn’t sway the judge from handing down her punishment. Defense Attorney Jim McDonnell claimed the prosecution didn’t prove the crash was purposeful. Clearly, Russo disagreed, stating the Camry’s computer showed the teen didn’t even try to hit the brakes.
After the verdict, police led the defendant out of the courtroom for remand. People reported that her mother confirmed Shirilla intends to appeal.
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