'I will live with this for the rest of my life': Drunk driver Marco Muzzo granted day parole
TORONTO -- Convicted drunk driver Marco Muzzo has been granted day parole.
The decision was made during a hearing held on Tuesday by the Parole Board of Canada at Beaver Creek Institution.
Muzzo, who was responsible for a Vaughan, Ont. crash in September 2015 that claimed the lives of three young children and their grandfather, has been at the Gravenhurst, Ont. jail since he was sentenced to 10 years behind bars in March 2016.
Following Tuesday’s hearing, the board said in a brief statement that Muzzo has imposed conditions on his parole, which include no contact with the victims and geographical restrictions.
Muzzo was seeking full parole, which was denied.
"The full written decision will follow soon," the statement from the board said.
Jennifer Neville-Lake, the mother of the three young children who died in the crash, released a short statement on Facebook following the hearing.
"No matter what happened today, Daniel, Harry and Milly don't get to come back home. My dad isn't coming home to my mom," she wrote. “Nothing changes for me. I know I did my best."
"My family's killer, drunk driver Marco Michael Muzzo has been granted day parole."
At the time of the deadly collision, Muzzo was heading home from Toronto Pearson International Airport. He had just flown in from Miami, where he was celebrating his bachelor party.
Nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, five-year-old Harrison Neville-Lake, two-year-old Milly Neville-Lake, and 65-year-old Gary Neville died in the crash. The children’s grandmother and great-grandmother were also seriously injured as Muzzo sped through a stop sign in his Jeep Cherokee and smashed into the family’s mini-van.
According to an agreed statement of facts read in court, a police officer, who was called to the scene, said Muzzo had glossy eyes, smelled of alcohol and had urinated himself.
A toxicologist discovered that Muzzo was about three times over the legal limit of alcohol consumption while behind the wheel.
Muzzo pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm.
After being granted day parole, Muzzo said he will always take "full responsibility" for the damage he has caused.
"I want to apologize to the Neville-Lake, Neville and Frias families for the terrible pain I have caused them and their loved ones," the statement said. "I ruined their lives and I take full responsibility for what I have done. I always will."
"I was careless and irresponsible when I made the choice to drink and drive. There is no way that I can undo the damage that I have caused."
He added that he will live with this for the rest of his life.
Muzzo was denied parole in 2018
On Nov. 7, 2018 Muzzo had his first parole hearing. He was denied both day parole and full parole as the board stated that he “sabotaged” his rehabilitation by “severely underestimating” his problems with alcohol, adding that he failed to seek help while behind bars.
At the hearing, Muzzo vowed he would never drink again and said his remorse feels like a life sentence he has put on himself.
Neville-Lake, attended the 2018 hearing and sat about two feet away from Muzzo. She read a victim impact statement and showed photos of each of her family members who died in the crash.
After the hearing, she said she does not believe Muzzo has fully accepted what he did.
“You have to accept what you did – own it,” she said. “I didn’t feel that was genuine. I’ve always kind of felt that was something he was told to say.”
Due to measures implemented amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the board initially made a decision that no observers, including victims’ family members, would be allowed to attend parole hearings. But, following weeks of advocacy from Neville-Lake, that decision was reversed.
Neville-Lake, as well as her husband and sister, had the opportunity to read their statement at Tuesday’s hearing via telephone.
Following their statements, Muzzo addressed the board.
The media was not allowed to dial in to the hearing under the implemented measures and was first notified of the decision by Neville-Lake on Facebook.