'Every single thing is gone': Marco Muzzo to be sentenced March 29

Marco Muzzo says he feels "great remorse" after driving drunk, but the mother of the children who died in the crash says she doesn't want to hear what he has to say.

See Full Article

Jennifer Neville-Lake and her husband, Edward Lake, left the courtroom as Muzzo took the stand, and only returned when he was finished speaking.

"I knew I did not want to hear anything he had to say," Neville-Lake told reporters gathered outside.

"Forgiveness is ... not like a piece of clothing you can put on. It's a process."

Neville-Lake said she acknowledged that the Crown is asking for the "highest ever" sentence in a case with multiple fatalities, but said the sentence doesn't mean much to her family.

Muzzo will be sentenced on March 29.

The judge announced the sentencing date after Muzzo, who has not previously spoken publicly about the crash, took the stand on Wednesday in Newmarket, Ont.

The Crown has recommended a sentence of 10 to 12 years in prison, and a driving ban of eight to 12 years at the end of the prison sentence. Muzzo's lawyer is suggesting eight years in prison, less time already served in police custody prior to the sentence.

Neville-Lake said she thinks of the sentence suggestions in terms of how old her children would be at that time. If Muzzo were to get out of prison in 2.5 years, her daughter would have been starting school, she said.

Nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison, their two-year-old sister Milly, and the children's 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville, died after the van they were in was hit by an SUV north of Toronto on Sept. 27.

The children's grandmother and great-grandmother were also seriously injured in the crash.

"He chose to do his part, and I'm living the consequences," Neville-Lake said.

"Every single thing is gone because someone decided to drink and drive."

Earlier on Wednesday, Muzzo told the court he knows his words will be of no consolation, but that he wanted to apologize to those affected, "from the bottom of my heart."

"I'm at a loss of words," he said, addressing the court.

"I wish that I could give back your family that I have taken."

Muzzo said he prays every day for the Neville-Lake family, and that he plans to spend the rest of his life "trying to atone" for his actions.

"I will be forever haunted by what I've done. I am truly sorry," he said.

Statements from character witnesses

Muzzo's lawyer, Brian Greenspan, took the stand to read accounts from character witnesses, including Muzzo's priest and his uncle.

The priest, who Greenspan said has been integral in Muzzo's life since the death of his father, wrote that Muzzo has displayed "great concern" for the Neville-Lake family.

A friend described Muzzo as humble and respectful, and "a friend to all."

The friend wrote that he drew strength from Muzzo, and sees that the man has been "tormented" since the crash.

"I read this letter because it embodies the sentiment from the community," Greenspan said. "A tormented and shattered spirit as a result of guilt and grief."

Greenspan said the letters had a "consistent theme" of anecdotes that show Muzzo as a good person.

He read letters from a neighbour, another friend, employees and a nurse who treated his father. He then read letters from Muzzo's fiancée and his mother, before finishing with a letter from his uncle.

"He is a human who made a mistake, a deadly mistake," Marc Muzzo wrote.

"All I can say is he's a human with a compassionate heart and a generous nature."

After reading the letters, Greenspan said his client has accepted responsibility for the crash, and that Muzzo will accept whatever punishment the judge imposes.

Muzzo pleaded guilty earlier this month to four counts of impaired driving caused death and two of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

Earlier on Wednesday, the court heard from Crown attorney Paul Tait, who spoke to the judge about the devastating impact of Muzzo's actions.

"An entire generation, the next generation of the Neville-Lake family, was wiped out in one fell swoop," Tait said.

"Every drunk driver has a choice, and in this case, that choice had catastrophic consequences."

Tait said he hopes that the sentence would serve as a deterrent to others who consider drinking and driving, pointing to the frequency of impaired driving incidents in the area where the fatal crash occurred.

A psychiatrist's report entered in court said that Muzzo felt remorse and wanted to apologize to those affected by the crash.

Dr. Graham Glancy wrote that Muzzo shows signs of "considerable remorse," post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. The report said he was "distressed and tearful" when discussing the crash with the psychiatrist.

Muzzo told Glancy he was surprised by the results of a breathalyzer test taken after the crash, which showed his blood-alcohol level was between two and three times the legal limit. The report said Muzzo told Glancy he'd had some drinks before taking the wheel, but that he didn't feel like he was drunk when he began to drive.

The report suggested Muzzo's risk of repeating the behaviour was minimal, and recommended he receive counselling for alcohol abuse. Although there is no pattern of abuse, Glancy wrote, a treatment program would help him to abstain in the future.

Glancy wrote that his testing suggested Muzzo was "motivated to apologize to the family and to repay the family in any way suitable."

Read Marco Muzzo's statement, as presented in court.

Marco Muzzo's statement


Latest Canada & World News

  • Authorities find no sign of braking by bus driver in fatal California crash

    World News CTV News
    PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -- Ana Car didn't remember the sudden impact, only that she woke up among dead and injured passengers in a dark bus filled with screams of terror and agony. The retired factory worker had spent an evening gambling at a desert casino and was sound asleep when the bus heading to Los Angeles smashed into the rear of a slow-moving tractor-trailer. Source
  • Friends recall Hayden as activist behind historic document

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- When news broke that Tom Hayden had died, many remembered him as the Vietnam War protester, former husband of Jane Fonda or the California legislator. But classmates and fellow activists at the University of Michigan still think of the impassioned and eloquent student who more than anyone shaped a signature document of the 1960s: the Port Huron Statement. Source
  • Surfer bitten by shark in Maui that 'came out of nowhere'

    World News Toronto Sun
    HONOLULU — A surfer says he’s grateful to be recovering in a Maui hospital after a shark bit him — even though the attack forced him and his wife to postpone their honeymoon. Federico Jaime was surfing Friday at a beach about two blocks from his Paia home when he felt a shark chomp down on his left arm, he recalled Monday from his room at Maui Memorial Medical Center. Source
  • Kendall Jenner's testimony at trial not enough for stalking conviction

    World News CBC News
    A jury on Monday acquitted a man of stalking model and reality TV star Kendall Jenner and convicted him of trespassing at her secluded Hollywood Hill home The jury of seven women and five men returned the verdict against Shavaughn McKenzie after a seven-day trial in which Jenner described her fear at finding McKenzie lurking in her driveway and banging on her car window in August. Source
  • 'I stand by what I told Rolling Stone': Woman who alleged rape testifies at trial

    World News CBC News
    The subject of a Rolling Stone article on a gang rape at the University of Virginia that the magazine retracted after investigators found no evidence the attack occurred, testified on Monday she believed she had told the reporter the truth. Source
  • Mexican police find meth hidden in cheese

    World News CTV News
    MEXICO CITY - Mexican prosecutors said Monday that they had found a tunnel in the border city of Tijuana that led toward or into the United States. The attorney general's office did not say whether the tunnel actually reached U.S. Source
  • Former Uruguay president Jorge Batlle dead at 88

    World News CBC News
    Former President Jorge Batlle, an extroverted and irreverent politician who was a force in Uruguayan politics for half a century and led it during one of its worst economic recessions, died on Monday. He was 88. Source
  • Conservatives retain Alta. seat in federal byelection

    Canada News CBC News
    CBC News is projecting Conservative Glen Motz will win the Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner byelection with 196 of 223 polls reporting. Motz had 69.5 per cent (20,405) of the vote with Liberal candidate Stan Sakamoto taking 26.0 per cent (7,645 votes). Source
  • Ottawa police pull over higher rate of Middle Eastern and black drivers: report

    Canada News CTV News
    Ottawa Police are pulling over Middle Eastern and black drivers -- especially young men -- far more often than other groups relative to their population in the city, according to a report analyzing traffic stops over a two year period. Source
  • NAACP demanding federal probe after noose put on African American student

    World News CTV News
    WIGGINS, Miss. -- The president of the Mississippi NAACP is demanding a federal investigation after the parents of a black high school student said four white students put a noose around their son's neck at school. Source