Marco Muzzo, drunk driver who killed 3 children and grandfather, granted full parole
TORONTO -- Drunk driver Marco Muzzo, who killed three children and their grandfather in a Vaughan, Ont. crash in 2015, has been granted full parole.
The Parole Board of Canada made the decision during a virtual hearing held on Tuesday.
Appearing before the board via videoconference, Muzzo, wearing a dark-coloured dress shirt, a face mask and shield, said his victims’ names for the first time in any official setting.
“I’d like to start off always thoughts and prayers always with the Neville-Lake family, Neville family and Frais family,” he said.
“My heart bleeds every day, me knowing my actions killed their three beautiful children Daniel, Harry and Milly and a loving and probably awesome grandfather Gary.”
His words came after four victim impact statements were heard, including one read by the children’s mother Jennifer Neville-Lake, who says Muzzo still does not take full responsibility for his “disgusting actions.”
“I have never heard him say, I, Marco Muzzo, killed nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, five-year-old Harrison Neville-Lake, two-year-old Milly Neville-Lake and 65-year-old Gary Neville,” she said. “I, Marco Muzzo, am the man who killed all three of Jennifer Neville-Lake’s children because I am a selfish and irresponsible drunk driver.”
Neville-Lake said Muzzo instead continuously “expresses his scripted idea of remorse.”
The now-34-year-old was first granted day parole in April 2020. He was then granted six more months of day parole in November.
At the time of the deadly crash, Muzzo was driving home from Toronto Pearson International Airport. He had just flown in from Miami, where he was celebrating his bachelor party.
As Muzzo sped through a stop sign in his Jeep Cherokee and smashed into the family’s mini-van, the children’s 64-year-old grandmother and 91-year-old great-grandmother were also seriously injured.
According to an agreed statement of facts read in court, a police officer 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. In March 2016, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, along with a 12-year driving prohibition.
Muzzo was released from a minimum security prison in May 2020 and has been living at a community facility since then with special conditions.
Those special conditions will also be applied to his full parole, including no consumption of alcohol, avoiding drinking establishments, avoiding direct or indirect contact with his victims, and not attending Brampton or York Region.
His statutory release date was June 18, 2022 and his warrant expiry date – the end of his sentence – is July 28, 2025.
Low risk to reoffend, parole officer says
At Tuesday’s hearing, Muzzo’s parole officer outlined his plans to reintegrate into society and said he is at low risk to reoffend.
She said Muzzo has been “consistently positive” since being released on day parole last year and has respected all of his conditions.
According to the parole officer, since his release, Muzzo has been maintaining employment through his family’s business, working reduced hours and has volunteered, building a homeless shelter for men.
“He takes full responsibility for his actions, it is evident in conversations with him,” she said. “He displays insight and understanding into his offence.”
“He will continue to engage in counselling for a long period of time.”
The parole officer added that Muzzo had no prior criminal history, noting he did have several traffic violations on his driving record and was taken into police custody in 2012 due to public intoxication.
When asked about these incidents by members of the parole board on Tuesday, Muzzo said he feels “a lot of embarrassment.”
“Environment plays a big role,” he said. “Now me knowing what it takes to be over the limit, it was a gamble back then. A lot of times I drove I thought I was under but I may have not been.”
“I was foolish, being younger. My priorities were a little scattered.”
Muzzo added he has not had a sip of alcohol since the day of the deadly crash.
“It’s been 228 weeks,” he said. “I take this seriously. I’m hoping to add a comma to that numbers. I want to grow more, it keeps me motivated to do the right things.”
“It’s a slow progression of moving forward. Short-term, long-term goals, were just moving forward.”
“To switch the hands of time, I would. I can only adjust them moving forward.”
Mother of children says nothing has changed
Following the hearing, Neville-Lake wrote on Twitter that “No matter what happened today, Daniel, Harry and Milly are not coming back home. My dad isn’t coming home to my mom.”
“Nothing changed for me. My family’s killer Marco Michael Muzzo was granted full parole.”
In her victim impact statement, Neville-Lake detailed her extensive trauma, explained what it is like to listen to her family’s killer speak and expressed her constant fear of seeing Muzzo in the community.
“The killer of my family has forced me to endure so much death, so much pain in all areas of my life because of his reckless decision and actions,” she said.
“He scares me.”
Neville-Lake and her husband, who also read a victim impact statement during Tuesday’s hearing, urged the parole board to relocate Muzzo out of the province.
“I didn’t think that I could be anymore scared than I already am,” she said. “I live in constant fear that I will see the offender.”
“Please do not give this drunk driver anymore privilege than he already has.”
The grieving parents said Muzzo continues to blame others around him, including his family members.
“He said whether he wanted to drink or not, he had to because of expectations by people around him,” Edward Lake said. “I feel that he does not regret drinking and driving, he regrets getting caught.”
The pair said they suffer from severe anxiety, nightmares and now require assistance with minimal tasks.
“I am angry that my children never got the chance to grow up,” Lake said. “I wake up every day crying. It’s scary when you want a hug from your children and they aren’t there.”
‘He was my neighbour’
During Tuesday’s hearing, another victim impact statement was read by Josephine Neville, the daughter of Gary.
“My neighbour, Marco Muzzo, put (my father, two nephews and niece) in a casket,” she said. “Since the offender was my neighbour, if people cannot trust their neighbour, who can they trust.”
“I used to walk my niece and nephews by his house.”
She said the whole family continues to be devastated while experiencing extreme grief.
“My mother and grandmother have not been the same, with long-lasting physical and emotional tolls that will not go away,” she said.
“I want my dad back. My dad was my everything.”
Full written decision to be released
The board members said a full written decision will be released in the next 15 days.
Muzzo has the right to appeal any part of the parole board’s decision within three months of it being made.