TORONTO — The man charged in an impaired-driving crash that killed three children and their grandfather last September plans to plead guilty, but the children’s mother says his plea and eventual sentence can never make amends for her “decimated” family.
Appearing in a Newmarket court Wednesday, Marco Muzzo’s lawyer Brian Greenspan waived his client’s right to a preliminary hearing, saying there was sufficient evidence in the case to go directly to trial.
Greenspan said 29-year-old Muzzo intends to plead guilty on Feb. 4, after electing to be tried by judge alone Wednesday afternoon.
An agreed statement of facts will also be announced the same day of the plea, before Muzzo will face a sentencing hearing on Feb. 23 and 24.
Nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harry and sister Milly, aged two, were killed after the minivan they were travelling in was struck by another vehicle at the intersection of Kipling Avenue and Kirby Road at 4:10 p.m ET in Vaughan. Their grandfather, Gary Neville, 65, was also killed in the crash.
Two other occupants in the minivan, the children’s grandmother and great-grandmother, both survived the crash but suffered serious injuries.
Muzzo, of King Township, Ont., faces a dozen impaired-driving offences and six charges related to the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
Outside the courthouse, Jennifer Neville-Lake said Muzzo’s guilty plea and punishment would make little difference to her and her husband, who lost all three of their children and her father in the September crash.
“We’re given the life sentence,” she said.
“There’s no sentence he can every do that is going to repay what he took from us.”
Neville-Lake said a guilty plea would at least “acknowledge that he’s the reason our children aren’t here,” but have little impact on their lives, except to allow them more time to grieve in private.
“My day used to start at 5 a.m. I still get up at 5 a.m., but I’m not getting out of bed,” she said. “I’m just sitting there staring at the pictures of my children, listening for them, hoping I’ll hear them. We don’t. So there’s nothing.”
Greenspan said Muzzo has “accepted full responsibility and accountability for his conduct and the devastating consequences of that conduct.”
“Actions more than words are the true expression of the remorse that he feels,” he said. “He wishes to convey to the family for the deaths of Daniel, Harrison and Milly Neville-Lake and their grandfather Gary Neville.”
He has appeared in court via video link five times prior to Wednesday’s announcement, but had his case delayed citing the need for further police disclosure.
The Neville-Lake family had promised to attend each court session involved in the case.
With files from Caryn Lieberman, David Shum and The Canadian Press