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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Drunk driver Marco Muzzo’s wish to live near deadly crash site shows lack of victim empathy: parole board

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TORONTO —
Convicted drunk driver Marco Muzzo has expressed a wish to move back to the area where the crash that killed four members of the same family occurred nearly six years ago, despite his parole conditions specifically restricting him from doing so.

Parole board members who granted drunk driver Marco Muzzo full parole earlier this month say the desire to move back to northern Vaughan, where he shares a home with his fiancée, would regularly see him pass by a memorial to the four people he killed, and possibly put him in contact with surviving members of the Neville-Lake family.

In a written decision obtained by CTV News, Parole Board of Canada members continued to express reservations about how completely the 34-year-old has accepted the gravity of the pain and loss he caused, and say his desire to move back to Vaughan shows he has “work to do in terms of victim empathy and the effect of your return to the community.”

Since his release, Muzzo has been living north of York Region and renting satellite office space to participate in work at his family’s multiple construction companies, which include Marel Contracting and the Pemberton Group.

He told the parole board he wanted to be allowed to enter York Region to work directly at his family businesses’ main office.

“Your participation was limited by the geographic restrictions imposed by the Board in consideration of victim concerns,” the parole board wrote. “You feel that there are more opportunities for you at the main office, because your colleagues are just down the hall.”

Marco Muzzo

Board members dismissed this issue as a “minor concern” and said Muzzo has said he will remain in his current location and satellite office at least until leases on both expire.

Muzzo’s privately retained psychologist and addictions counsellor both told the board that returning to York Region would be beneficial for his “integration and mental health.”

But the board said his continued insistence on returning to the area where the crash occurred demonstrates a lack of consideration for the interests of the Neville-Lake family.

“The Board is concerned that your focus on yourself gives rise to a risk of you deliberately or inadvertently moving within the relevant geographic region without fully considering or respecting victim concerns,” the decision states.

Neville-Lake memorial

Muzzo was first granted day parole in April 2020. He was then granted six more months of day parole in November.

At the time of the deadly crash, Muzzo was driving home from Toronto Pearson International Airport. He had just flown in from Miami, where he was celebrating his bachelor party.

Muzzo sped through a stop sign in his Jeep Cherokee and smashed into a mini-van, killing the three Neville-Lake children, Daniel, 9, Harrison, 5 and Milly, 2, as well as their grandfather, Gary Neville.

neville lake

The children’s 64-year-old grandmother and 91-year-old great-grandmother were also seriously injured.

According to an agreed statement of facts read in court, a police officer called to the scene said Muzzo had glossy eyes, smelled of alcohol and had urinated himself.

A toxicologist found that Muzzo was about three times over the legal limit of alcohol consumption while behind the wheel.

Muzzo

He pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. In March 2016, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, along with a 12-year driving prohibition that began only upon his release.

Muzzo was released from a minimum security prison in May 2020 and has been living in an apartment at a community facility since then with special conditions, including a complete prohibition on alcohol possession.

Those special conditions are to be applied to his full parole, including no consumption of alcohol, avoiding drinking establishments, avoiding direct or indirect contact with his victims, and not attending Brampton or York Region, presenting a challenge for his plans about where to live and work in the future.

His statutory release date was June 18, 2022 and his warrant expiry date – the end of his sentence – is July 28, 2025.

Upon granting his parole, the Board reminded Muzzo that the conditions it imposes on him are not mere suggestions and must be obeyed.

“It will be important for you to always be mindful that your liberty in the community is conditional, and that you remain under supervision until warrant expiry,” they state.

— With files from CTV News Toronto’s Kayla Goodfield.

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