A convicted teenage murderer in Ohio will get the chance for parole after serving 15 years in prison for crashing her car into a brick wall, murdering her boyfriend and another man.
Then again, defendant Mackenzie Shirilla, 19, was warned by the judge that she might just spend the rest of her days in prison, and whether she ever gets out depends on the parole board — and the defendant herself.
Shirilla was sentenced to concurrent — not consecutive — terms of 15 years t0 life behind bars, with credit for time served for murdering boyfriend Dominic Russo, 20, and friend Davion Flanagan, 19. The sentence reflected the defense’s request.
Judge Nancy Margaret Russo (no relation to victim Dominic) voiced reservations, however, agreeing with the prosecution that the defendant showed a lack of remorse after the July 31, 2022, tragedy. She voiced doubt that Shirilla will get out of prison in 15 years.
The prosecution told the judge on Monday that Shirilla showed a “shocking lack of remorse” after that early morning in July, when she sped her car down a street at up to 100 miles an hour.
For example, before the charges were brought, Shirilla attended a concert in her wheelchair while recovering from the crash.
Shirilla maintained her innocence in court, even shaking her head during victim impact statements when Dominic Russo’s mother Christine Russo took her to task.
“No one wanted this to be a murder, or to punish Mackenzie Shirilla for this accident, but this was not a car accident,” Christine Russo said in court. “The evidence and science proved that Mackenzie Shirilla murdered my son Dominic as well as Davion.”
The defense maintains that it was a reckless homicide — and that Shirilla lost control of the vehicle.
“I wish I could remember what happened,” the defendant said in court on Monday.
She said she loved Dominic Russo and Flanagan, and that the former was her soulmate.
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Dominic Russo’s and Flanagan’s families remembered both young men lovingly.
“I lost three children in that crash,” Christine Russo said. “Not a minute goes by each day that I don’t think about my son as well as Davion. My heart is forever broken.”
“Dom may have been young, but he made the most of each day, and had an impact on the lives of his friends and his family,” an older brother, Angelo Russo, said. “Dom was a businessman, an athlete, a song producer, and an entrepreneur. Dom was not only my brother, he was also my best friend, and the friends in this courtroom also say Dom was their best friend.”
Flanagan’s adoptive mother, Jamie Flanagan, called him “precious.”
“He was an amazing soul with a heart of gold,” she said. “He gave to the world what he wanted most in his own life: Love. The kind of love that would rescue a friend in the middle of the night, no questions asked. The kind that would protect others and honor them.”
“After Davion passed away, a lot of trauma and past pain has come into my life, causing it to be difficult to heal from this traumatic event,” said Devine Flanagan, one of Davion’s younger sisters.
She wanted Shirilla, who she had known for three years, to have the longest possible sentence, and said that the defendant has always taken the easy way out.
Watch Shirilla give her statement in court, via Law&Crime Network, below.
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