I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.
A Family, Frozen In Time
Drunk Driver Who Killed 4 in 2015 Granted Day Parole - Is It Fair?
In 2015, much of Canada reeled when they learned that a grandfather and three small children were killed by a drunk driver. Gary Neville and his three young grandchildren, Daniel, Harry, and Milly Neville-Lake, were killed when Marco Muzzo plowed through a stop sign and smashed into their van. It was later discovered that Muzzo had a blood alcohol content that was three times over the legally allowed limit, the result of his bachelor party from which he was returning via a flight from Toronto's Pearson Airport, and ultimately, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail.
When Muzzo was last up for parole, which was 2018, the parole board stated that they did not believe that Muzzo had fully come to grips with his alcohol issues, so he stayed behind bars. Now, though, he has been granted day parole, and the question is - why?
I have always believed that most people are deserving of second chances, but hear me out. As the daughter of someone who was caught three times for impaired driving, I never saw any notion of remorse from my dad about impaired driving. Rather, he was caught three times and was determined that it was everyone else's fault but his own for getting caught. It was "dirty cops" or someone in the neighborhood who called him in - never the fact that he actually was responsible for his actions and that he was the one who had drank too much alcohol. I forever lived in fear that I would get a call at some point that he had either been killed or killed someone else.
I've also dealt with addictions my entire career. I've seen students coping with addictions to alcohol and drugs over the span of my decade-long career, and while I don't doubt that the remorse is sincere, the true recovery might not yet have occurred. It may never occur. There will always be questions as to whether or not the remorse that Marco Muzzo reportedly feels is sincerely due to being remorseful over his role in the deaths of three children and their grandfather or to the fact that he got caught.
I'm not saying that Muzzo should be denied the benefit of the doubt. It's truly quite possible that Muzzo has taken stock of what got him where he currently is and hopefully realized he needs to come to terms with the alcohol issue that landed him in jail in the first place. However, it's not impossible that Muzzo is merely parroting what his lawyer has told him to tell the parole board in order to be granted day parole.
Certainly, we will never truly know what lies in Muzzo's heart, and as someone who works really hard at trying to believe the absolute best in people, I would hope the deaths of three kids and their grandfather would be enough to trigger sincere change and potential avoidance of alcohol in the future. I would hope that Muzzo would be able to look in the mirror and decide how he was going to change his life and positively influence others instead of potentially making poor alcohol-fuelled choices in the future.
Some might argue that Muzzo, having come from a wealthy family, had a particular advantage as far as navigating the legal system went, but now, he has to cope with having taken three lives. Sure, he was the recipient of Canada's toughest first-time sentence for an impaired driving causing death sentence ever, and one would have thought that perhaps would have sent a strong enough sentence to the powers that be that perhaps issues of drinking and driving and of consequently taking lives should be taken even more seriously.
10 years for four lives taken boils down to two and a half years per person. Although the deaths of these four individuals was not premeditated, it was a murder, which typically carries with it a sentence of around 25 years. Muzzo, if he'd actually served the full 10 years, wouldn't have been released until 2025. Now, he's got day parole after around 4 or 5 years.
Yes, he's no doubt going to have to deal with this for the rest of his life. Never mind the knowledge that he killed four; he also has to deal with the career implications that will result from this. Granted, his family will doubtless find a place for him to work where he may not have a high public exposure, because they likely have the capability to do that.
What of the Neville-Lakes, though? Jennifer Neville-Lake, the children's mother and the daughter of the man who was killed in the crash that took her children's lives, has to forever deal with the fact that her children's potential was snatched before it even really had a chance to begin to be explored. She has to forever deal with the fact that Muzzo can go on and live his life probably pretty much as he so chooses, while her father and her children will never be able to come back to her.
One would hope that Muzzo truly learned from his experiences, but the fact is, much as we would like to see him stay behind bars for the duration of his sentence and beyond, we will never know what the truth of what Muzzo has gone through is.