Thursday, February 4, 2016

Marco Muzzo pleads guilty - Update

Marco Muzzo has pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm in the September crash in Vaughan, Ont., that killed three children and their grandfather.

Muzzo entered his plea this morning in a Newmarket, Ont., court. ​Muzzo was driving an SUV that collided with a minivan carrying six members of the Neville-Lake family on Sept. 27. Daniel, 9, Harrison, 5, Milly, 2, and 65-year-old Gary Neville died. In entering his plea this morning, Muzzo agreed to a statement of the following facts that was read in court:
- The Jeep Muzzo was driving was travelling 85 kilometres an hour when it struck the minivan.
- His blood-alcohol content at the time of crash ranged from 0.19 to 0.25 per cent, which is two to three times the legal limit in Ontario.
Marco Muzzo’s lawyer has asked for a court appearance next month, at which point his client will plead guilty to various charges in connection with a crash that killed three children and their grandfather north of Toronto.

Muzzo’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan, submitted the request to a Superior Court judge in Newmarket, Ont. on Wednesday, after electing earlier in the day to be tried by a judge without a jury. Greenspan requested a court date of Feb. 4 to make a statement of facts and enter the guilty pleas.
29-year-old Muzzo faces 12 counts of impaired driving and six counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle related to the incident.

“This is not a plea deal. This is an acceptance of responsibility by Marco Muzzo,” Greenspan told reporters outside the courthouse, after submitting the request to the judge.

The Jeep driven by Marco Muzzo that killed three children and their grandfather on Sept. 27, 2015
29-year-old Marco Muzzo appeared on video from jail and was remanded in custody for the fifth time since his arrest on charges that he drove drunk and killed three children and their grandfather.

But for the first time since these legal proceedings began, lawyer Brian Greenspan notified the court that he wants his client to appear in person for his Jan. 6 court date and not via videolink. Greenspan declined to comment but the theory advanced by many legal analysts is that a plea bargain is in the works and Muzzo will likely plead guilty on that date.

Muzzo allegedly drove twice the speed limit before the crash
To secure the best possible outcome in such a high-profile, emotionally charged case, Greenspan is leaving Muzzo in jail as a mitigating factor that a judge will take into account when it comes time for sentencing. The strategy, he says, is to show the court that he’s genuinely remorseful, spared the family a trial and is so prepared to take responsibility for this horror that he never even sought bail.
Based on past cases, he expects a guilty plea will bring a sentence of eight to 10 years. “But whatever they come up with is going to be seen as too soft,” Prutschi warned.

Marco Muzzo is charged with impaired driving in a car crash in Vaughan, Ont., last Sunday that resulted in the death of three young siblings and their grandfather.

The 18 charges against Muzzo include impaired driving and dangerous driving causing death.
Muzzo's mother and his fiancée were accompanied by five private security guards after they arrived at the court ahead of Friday's hearing. The Muzzo family owns the construction company Marel Contractors and is worth nearly $1.8 billion, according to Canadian Business magazine.

Nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison, their two-year-old sister Milly and their 65-year-old grandfather died in the crash.

"Please keep us in your prayers. God bless."
Jennifer Neville-Lake said she first heard about the crash while watching TV. She also posted on Facebook Monday morning that "all of my children have gone home to God with my dad. My mother and grandmother are still in the hospital."

In the post to the Today's Mom Facebook group, she also thanks people for their support. "Your kind words and messages mean so much to my husband and I as we sit in our son's empty room surrounded by our children's things,"
Police sources say Muzzo was driving at least 120 km/h down Kirby Avenue -- a 60 km/h-road -- when he ran a stop sign and T-boned the minivan travelling down Kirby Road, which then hit a third vehicle.

Sources told CTV that Muzzo took two breath tests after the crash, and allegedly both times blew more than twice the legal limit of 80 milligrams.