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Teen sobs as she learns that she faces up to life in prison for killing her boyfriend and a passenger intentionally in a car wreck

 August 22, 2023

On Monday, an Ohio court passed down a sentence of 15 years to life for 19-year-old Mackenzie Shirilla, stemming from her intentional act of driving her car into a brick wall, resulting in the deaths of her boyfriend, Dominic Russo, 20, and his 19-year-old friend, Davion Flanagan, Fox News reported.

Cuyahoga County Judge Nancy Margaret Russo, who shares no relation to Dominic Russo, described the terrifying final moments of the young men's lives, "The absolute terror of the two people in that car."

Post-Accident Actions Raise Eyebrows

Prosecutor Michael O'Malley expressed deep concern over Shirilla's behavior following the tragic event.  As she recuperated from her injuries, she pursued a modeling gig in Los Angeles.

O'Malley pointed out that shortly after being discharged, Shirilla attended a music event in a wheelchair and then celebrated Halloween by dancing on TikTok in what appeared to be a morbid outfit.

The prosecutor noted that Shirilla persisted in driving even after alleging she had a medical issue leading to fainting spells.

Shirilla was subsequently found guilty on four counts of murder, among other charges, related to the horrific crash near Cleveland.

The prosecutor believed Shirilla intended to sever ties with her boyfriend Russo, and Flanagan was an unfortunate bystander.

Although her convictions would naturally entail a minimum of 15 years to life for each count, the court, in a demonstration of leniency, decided that Shirilla should serve both terms concurrently.

This means she may seek parole after 15 years instead of the potential 30.

Victims' Families Speak Out

Before the pronouncement of the sentence, the devastated families of the victims were given an opportunity to address the court. Angelo Russo, Dominic's brother, was blunt, confronting Shirilla's apparent lack of empathy.

Referring to her remarks to the police post-crash, Angelo recollected, "Can't you just take my license away for 10 years or something like that?" He continued, condemning her insensitivity, "That statement is Mackenzie Shirilla, the most selfish person I know."

Russo said Shirilla continued to drive, attend concerts, and dress up for Halloween, seemingly indifferent to the lives she had shattered.

In her defense, Shirilla tearfully asserted in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court that the collision was unintentional. "I'm so deeply sorry. I hope one day you can see I would never let this happen or do it on purpose," she claimed.

Her defense attorney, Jim McDonnell, argued that a medical condition made her lose control, a contention the judge did not find compelling.

The most damning evidence against Shirilla was surveillance footage, described by the judge as "chilling and tragic," capturing the moment she sped up her Toyota Camry, ramming it deliberately into a building.

"This was not reckless driving. This was murder," affirmed Judge Russo. She labeled Shirilla a "literal hell on wheels," highlighting that she had previously scouted the exact location in anticipation of her grim act.

Russo and Flanagan were declared dead at the crash site, rescuers pulling an unconscious Shirilla from the wreckage. Reports surfaced that the trio had consumed marijuana prior to the collision. Shirilla's family has indicated their intention to challenge the verdict.