Thousands sign petition demanding 'no parole' for drunk driver who killed 4
Marco Muzzo, right, leaves the Newmarket courthouse surrounded by family, on February 4, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov)
More than 13,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that the Parole Board of Canada deny day parole to a man who pleaded guilty to drunk driving in a crash that killed three young children and their grandfather in 2015.
Marco Muzzo, now 32, was sentenced in March 2016 to 10 years in prison in connection with the deaths of two-year-old Milly Neville-Lake, her five-year-old brother Harrison, her nine-year-old brother Daniel, and their grandfather, Gary Neville.
The crash occurred in Vaughan, Ont., after Muzzo ran a stop sign while driving home from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport following his bachelor party in Miami. Muzzo’s blood alcohol reading was more than double the legal limit, according to police.
On Tuesday, the parole board will meet in Gravenhurst, Ont., to decide whether Muzzo will be given day parole after serving 37 months behind bars. He will be eligible for statutory release in June 2022.
After the decision was handed down, Muzzo’s defence lawyer Brian Greenspan told reporters that the sentence was reasonable because Muzzo had always accepted full responsibility for his actions.
The children’s mother, Jennifer Neville-Lake, thought the sentence should be longer: “His sentence is 10 years, and none of my children saw 10 years,” she said at the time.
In addition to signatures, the Change.org petition created by Toronto mother Jennifer Stallman has garnered thousands of comments.
“I’m signing this as a mom, as a daughter, as a wife, as a law-abiding citizen who believes that my life is just as important as everyone else’s,” wrote signatory Petra Gill. “I refuse to share the road with someone who made a selfish choice.”
“His reckless action of drinking and driving has caused this family unrecoverable pain and loss,” wrote Stephanie Tsoi as she signed. “The children lost any chance of freedom because of him. Granting him parole is only going to set bad (precedent) for other people.”
“He deserves the time he got and then some,” wrote Derek Nicholls as he added his name. “The lives he ruined don’t get a second chance.”
The petition also calls on Canada to create tougher penalties for impaired driving.
The Liberal government increased penalties for drug and alcohol impaired driving in a bill that passed in June. The stricter penalties for drug-impaired driving immediately came into force. The new rules around alcohol-impaired driving will come into force on December 18.
The changes to the Criminal Code include allowing police officers “who have an approved screening device on hand” to “test a breath sample of any driver they lawfully stop, even without reasonable suspicion that the driver has alcohol in their body.” The Liberals argue this will increase the number of impaired drivers who are caught.
The law also includes a mandatory minimum $1,000 fine for those caught driving with more than the legal limit of alcohol in the blood (80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood), mandatory 30 day imprisonment for the second offence, and mandatory 120 day imprisonment for the third offence.
Impaired driving causing death will come with no minimum penalty, although there will be a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
With files from The Canadian Press and CTV Toronto