Why was Marco Muzzo granted full parole after killing four people, including three children, in a 2015 drunk driving crash in Vaughan?
According to a newly-released Parole Board of Canada decision, Muzzo gained insight into his actions and took active steps towards rehabilitation and reintegration while behind bars.
Muzzo, who was granted full parole on Feb. 9, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two of impaired driving causing bodily harm.
Nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison, their two-year-old sister Milly and the children’s 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville, were killed in the September 2015 crash.
The children’s grandmother and great-grandmother were also seriously injured in the collision.
In rendering its decision, the Parole Board of Canada said it took into account the devastating victim impact statements from the Neville-Lake family.
“Their anguish is palpable,” the Board wrote. “Your choices and actions have left them struggling psychologically, emotionally, physically and financially. The family dynamic has been shattered to the point that even their interpersonal relationships have suffered.”
But the Board said Muzzo used his time while incarcerated to make important strides.
” … you arranged for counselling sessions on your own. You explained to the Board how these sessions helped you understand your alcohol issues, and how to develop appropriate, effective coping strategies. These gains reflect improved insight into your alcohol use and represent positive steps that must be continued on a life-long journey.”
Those strides contributed to the Board granting Muzzo day parole in April of 2020.
His day parole was deemed a success and ultimately cleared a path towards his full parole.
“To date, there are no known breaches of your release conditions, you have adhered to CRF [Community Residential Facilities] rules and regulations, and you are actively engaged in your Correctional Plan. Reports describe you as transparent, and open to feedback and guidance from members of your Case Management Team.”
“The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) recommends granting full parole. CSC believes that your risk is manageable on this more expanded form of release, citing your progress during day parole, your risk to reoffend being assessed as low, and your release plan, which includes reporting to the area reporting centre.
“In coming to its decision, the Board recognizes the steps that you have taken towards reintegration and pro-social living. In each of your hearings with the Board, you have shown progress in your ability to speak about the factors that led to your offences.”
Muzzo’s full parole came with several conditions, including barring him from entering Brampton and York Region.
He was also forbidden from any contact with the victims’ families and barred from drinking alcohol or frequenting drinking establishments.
In its decision the Board did note concerns about Muzzo’s desire to reside in York Region, where he could come into contact with his victims’ family.
“While you would like to return to the home you share with your fiancée, that residence is close to a victim memorial and is in an area regularly frequented by the victims,” the Board wrote.
“There are legitimate concerns regarding the potential for unintended victim contact. When asked about the practicality of returning to this house in the face of these concerns, you told the Board that you would do “the right thing.” That said, when asked what the “right thing” would be, you were not able to answer the question.
“This suggests that despite your gains you still have work to do in terms of victim empathy and the effect of your return to the community.”