A teenager in Ohio was found guilty of murdering her boyfriend and another friend after she drove over 100 miles per hour into a building.
Mackenzie Shirilla, 19, was found guilty of murder, felonious assault, and aggravated homicide for the deadly crash that took place in Strongsville, about 20 miles southwest of Cleveland.
Around 5.30am on July 31, 2022, Shirilla, who was 17 at the time, careened off a backroad in Strongville and into a pipe fitting manufacturing building.
Shirilla miraculously survived the crash. The two other occupants of the car, her boyfriend Dominic Russo, 20, and their friend Davion Flanagan, 19, were both killed by the impact.
A passerby finally noticed the horrific crash about 45 minutes after it happened. Shirilla was trapped in the driver’s seat, and her fuzzy Prada slipper was stuck to the accelerator, Cleveland.com reported.
Judge Nancy Margaret Russo, who is not related to the victim, handed down the verdict after a tense, four-month long bench trial that saw attorneys dissecting the teenager’s actions behind the wheel.
Videos of the early morning crash were played at the trial, which appear to show Shirilla’s car abruptly accelerating to a high speed out of nowhere.
According to prosecutors, the gas pedal of Shirilla’s Toyota Camry was pressed fully to the floor, and there is no evidence she attempted to hit the brakes.
Shirilla insists that she doesn’t remember the minutes leading up to the deadly crash. She had previously admitted to using marijuana with Russo and Flanagan before getting behind the wheel.
Prosecutors also argued that Shirilla expressed guilt and remorse in the hospital while recovering from the crash, but defense attorneys pointed out that this is common for survivors of car crashes.
Defense attorneys argued that there was no way to tell if Shirilla intended to murder the two passengers in her car, since she could not remember the moments leading up to the crash.
‘There was only one goal and the computer demonstrated that there was no attempt to slow down or stop, that it was full speed into a building and tragically it cost two people their lives,’ Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said.
Judge Russo eventually sided with the prosecution, calling the video of the crash ‘the type of evidence you can never unsee.’
‘The video clearly shows the purpose and intent of the defendant,’ the judge said before announcing her verdict. ‘She choose the path of death and destruction that day.’
Shirilla sobbed as Judge Russo summarized the facts of the case.
Judge Russo continued: ‘She morphs from a responsible driver to literal hell on wheels as she makes her way down the street.’
The judge also noted that Shirilla chose to drive down a back street at an early hour, knowing that few people would be around to witness the crash.
‘Her actions were controlled, methodical, deliberate, intentional, and purposeful. This was not reckless driving, this was murder,’ Judge Russo said.
Shirilla’s charges come with a mandatory sentence of life in prison. She will not be eligible for parole for 15 years.
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