A judge ruled Monday that an Ohio teen meant it when she crashed her car into a brick wall on a dead-end street while going up to 100 miles per hour, killing her boyfriend and another young man.
“She had a mission, and she executed it with precision,” Judge Nancy Margaret Russo said of the defendant Mackenzie Shirilla, according to Cleveland.com. “The decision was death.”
Charges included murder, aggravated vehicular homicide, and felonious assault.
Today Mackenzie Shirilla, 19, was found guilty by a Judge on all charges including Murder, Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, Felonious Assault, and other charged for the July 2022 Strongsville car crash that killed two men, 19 and 20. pic.twitter.com/iRkAiUldJa
— ProsMikeOMalley (@ProsMikeOMalley) August 14, 2023
Shirilla, then 17, drove her 2018 Toyota Camry in the early morning of July 31, 2022, after she, her boyfriend Dominic Russo (no relation to the judge), 20, and another young man, Davion Flanagan, 19, smoked marijuana at a friend’s home.
Surveillance video showed that Shirilla turned slowly from Pearl Road onto Alameda Drive, then she sped down the three-quarter mile street into a brick wall.
Russo and Flanagan died. Shirilla survived, stuck in the driver’s seat.
As defense lawyer James McDonnell pointed out, it’s not clear what happened inside the vehicle when the crash happened at about 5:30 a.m. He reportedly maintained that Cuyahoga County prosecutors failed to prove Shirilla crashed on purpose instead of simply losing control of the vehicle.
The surveillance footage was key, however.
“The video clearly shows the purpose and intent of the defendant,” the judge said in WKYC footage. “She chose a course of death and destruction that day.”
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Whether Shirilla intended to kill herself too is a matter of speculation and irrelevant to evaluating the evidence at hand, Russo said. The judge ruled that the defendant, whose actions were “controlled, methodical, deliberate, intentional, and purposeful,” meant to kill the young men.
Shirilla, now 19, covered her mouth and broke down in tears on hearing the verdict.
She faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years at a sentencing to take place Monday, Aug. 21.
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Mackenzie Shirilla convicted of murdering Russo and Flanagan
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