Mackenzie Shirilla, a teenager from Strongsville, was sentenced to two concurrent life terms on Monday for the murders of her boyfriend and another man in a deliberate car crash in July 2022.
Mackenzie Shirilla was convicted of 12 counts, including murder, aggravated vehicular homicide and drug possession, earlier this month. She will have a chance to apply for parole after serving 15 years in prison. Her driving license was also revoked for life.
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Mackenzie Shirilla expressed her sorrow in a short statement on Monday. She claimed that she did not intend to cause the fatal crash that killed her boyfriend, 20-year-old Dominic Russo, and their friend, 19-year-old Davion Flanagan. She said they were all friends and that Russo was her soulmate. She wished she could ease the pain of their families.
Victim family opinions about Mackenzie Shirilla
However, prosecutors argued that Mackenzie Shirilla acted with malice and showed no remorse for her actions. They presented evidence that Shirilla intentionally accelerated on a dead-end street in a Strongsville business park and crashed into a brick wall at high speed, killing Russo and Flanagan on July 31, 2022. They also revealed that Shirilla asked the authorities if they could just suspend her license for 10 years shortly after the crash. They said this demonstrated her shocking lack of empathy for the victims.
Moreover, prosecutors said that Mackenzie Shirilla and her mother were looking for a job with a modeling agency in Los Angeles while she was hospitalized for several weeks after the crash. They also said that Shirilla posted pictures of herself celebrating Halloween and attending a concert in Cleveland’s Flats district before she was formally charged.
The families of Russo and Flanagan gave emotional statements at the sentencing hearing on Monday. They described their sons as loving, caring and ambitious young men who had bright futures ahead of them.
Russo’s father Michael said his son was his best friend and the best friend of many others in the courtroom. He said he missed him every day.
Victom’s mother statement
Russo’s mother Christine said she felt like she lost three children in the crash. She said her son was always in her heart. She told Mackenzie Shirilla that she should be grateful that she was still alive and had a future, unlike Russo and Flanagan who were robbed of their hopes and dreams.
Flanagan’s mother Jaime said her son was an amazing soul with a heart of gold who gave and received love unconditionally. She said he was the kind of person who would rescue a friend in need, protect them and honor them. She adopted Flanagan and his little sister Davyne in 2012.
Davyne said her brother was a role model and a source of safety and trust for her. She said it was unfair that Shirilla might get parole one day while her brother would be gone forever. She asked the court to give Shirilla the longest possible sentence. She said she knew Shirilla for three years and she always took the easy way out.