Marco Muzzo, the 29-year-old from a wealthy and influential York Region family, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm back in September, 2015, is facing victim impact statements in a Newmarket, Ontario, courthouse as he awaits sentencing.
— YorkRegion (@YorkRegion) February 23, 2016
According to Toronto Star, Muzzo allegedly hit the brakes 3.7 seconds before his SUV smashed into the minivan carrying 65-year-old Gary Neville and grandchildren Daniel Neville-Lake, 9, Harrison, 5, and Milly, 2. The children’s grandmother and great-grandmother were also seriously injured in the crash.
Muzzo comes from a family that effectively built a construction empire in the area, and the Muzzo family is worth over $1 billion, according to CTV News. Reports indicate that Muzzo had returned from Miami on a private jet prior to hopping in an SUV, and just after the crash, according to Toronto Star, a police officer on scene reported that “Muzzo was unsteady on his feet, had glossy eyes, was losing his balance, had urinated on himself and smelled of alcohol.”
Muzzo had been held in custody from the time of the crash until February 4, when he entered the guilty pleas. At that point, he was free on $1 million bail.
The sentencing hearing for Muzzo is expected to last two to three days, and is currently featuring the victim impact statements from the Neville-Lake family.
Brampton Catholic School Board Trustee Anna da Silva said in her victim impact statement that it seemed beyond comprehension that much of a family could be “decimated” by a drunk driver. She said that the community was trying to come to terms with how best to support the family.
“Do we tell them stories about our own children?” she wondered. “Wish them a Merry Christmas or a Happy New Year?”
Jennifer Neville-Lake, the children’s mother, confronted Muzzo in court with her victim impact statement, telling the man that she had no one left to call her “Mom.”
“Shame on you for taking my loves from me,” she told Muzzo, according to Toronto Star. “I don’t have anyone left to call me mom. Not one. You killed all of them.”
Edward Lake, the children’s father, admitted to feeling “lost” since the accident and struggling with dark thoughts since the children died. According to NewsTalk 1010, Lake is also struggling with other psychological impacts stemming from the deaths of his three children.
The victim impact statements in the Muzzo case were even affecting a York Regional Police court officer, who according to one NewsTalk 1010 tweet, was wiping tears from his eyes as Jennifer Neville-Lake addressed Marco Muzzo directly.
— WR Record (@WR_Record) February 23, 2016
Muzzo’s mother was wiping tears from her eyes as the victim impact statements were read. The Muzzo family was supposed to have been celebrating Marco Muzzo’s marriage late last year when those plans were derailed by the horrific three-vehicle accident which left four dead — an incident for which Muzzo has now entered a guilty plea.
In October, 2015, Neville-Lake admitted that she hadn’t been able to tell her great-grandmother, who was injured in the crash and had a head injury, that the children had been killed. She also said at the time, according to CBC News, that the Muzzo case had caused her family worldwide attention, and that she had been “overwhelmed” by the reaction of the international community.
“I have over 9,000 messages on Facebook that I’m trying to answer, each and every one, thanking them for thinking of us,” she said of her life since Marco Muzzo and her family’s lives crossed. “My email’s blown up. Random people all over the world are calling us. They are sending us letters to the church and to the funeral home… They are all just sending messages of love and support. That really helps us.”
[Photo by Steve Eason/Hulton Archive/Getty Images]