Ohio teen sentenced to life in prison in deaths of boyfriend, friend in high-speed car crash


A 19-year-old Ohio woman was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison on Monday for deliberately crashing her car  into a brick wall at 100 mph, killing her boyfriend and another teenaged friend. The woman, Mackenzie Shirilla, was found guilty last week on charges of murder, felonious assault, aggravated vehicular homicide, drug possession and possession of criminal tools.

Shirilla was 17-years-old at the time of the July 2022 crash in the Cleveland suburb of Strongsville that killed Shirilla’s boyfriend, 20-year-old Dominic Russo, and their 19-year-old friend, Davion Flanagan. Shirilla, who was tried as an adult, was spared consecutive sentences in the case, and was instead sentenced to two concurrent life sentences. She will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison before she is eligible for parole.

Defense attorneys argued that Shirilla lost control of the Toyota Camry while driving recklessly two days shy of her 18th birthday on July 31, 2022, but prosecutors said the evidence showed she intentionally crashed the vehicle into an industrial park building. A security camera video of the crash shows the car accelerating in what prosecutors called “a controlled manner” up to 100 mph “with intent” before careening off the road and into the building.

Cuyahoga County Judge Nancy Margaret Russo called Spirilla’s actions “selfish, intentional and a cruel decision ..There’s only one person who’s responsible for the pain of every person in this room and that person is you, Mackenzie. Nobody else is responsible.” Judge Russo also responded to family members who pleaded for the sentences to run consecutively so that parole would be withheld for 30 years: “I understand that the pain in this room wants me to impose the harshest sentence. But I don’t believe that would be an appropriate sentence, because I do believe that Mackenzie will not be out in 15 years.

Before she was sentenced Monday, Shirilla tearfully read a statement in court and apologized to the families of Flanagan and Russo, saying she had no intention of killing the two men: “I wish I could take all of your pain away. I’m so sorry. I hope one day you can see I would never let this happen or do it on purpose. We were all friends, and Dom was my soul mate.”

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