The Parole Board of Canada has granted day parole to Marco Muzzo, a scion of billionaire developers, after he served just over four years of a 10-year-sentence for killing three children and their grandfather while driving drunk. But the board denied Mr. Muzzo full parole.
The decision came after a hearing in which some participated by videoconference, and others by teleconference. The press were not permitted to attend remotely.
Mr. Muzzo will live in a halfway house and be barred from contacting the family of his victims, board spokeswoman Holly Knowles said.
It was Mr. Muzzo’s second attempt to persuade the parole board he can be safely released. A hearing in November, 2018, was attended by news reporters who watched on closed-circuit television from a separate room. The board rejected day parole that time, saying Mr. Muzzo seemed to minimize the extent of his alcohol problem. Corrections authorities had recommended on that occasion that he be released, saying he was a low risk to reoffend.
Jennifer Neville-Lake, whose three children, Daniel, Harry and Milly, and father, Gary Neville, died in the crash on Sept. 27, 2015, in Vaughan, Ont., said his release on day parole did not reflect the seriousness of his crime. The children’s grandmother, Neriza Neville, and great-grandmother, Josefina Frias, were injured.
“He has served just over one year for each of the deaths that he caused,” she said on Tuesday. “It is just not fair that he can be released prior to serving all of the minimal sentence that he received for this destruction of my family.”
She was allowed to attend the hearing remotely and read a victim-impact statement after the board initially denied her the right to do so, then relented in the face of public criticism.
Mr. Muzzo was 29 at the time of the crash. He had returned that morning on a private airplane charter from his bachelor party, and drove his Jeep Grand Cherokee through a stop sign while speeding. The Muzzo family, one of Canada’s wealthiest, owns the drywall company Marel Contractors. Mr. Muzzo said in the previous hearing he consumed several Caesars on the plane and more drinks throughout the previous evening, but chose not to call a taxi, his fiancée or family for a ride.
Mr. Muzzo, through his legal counsel, Tom Curry, released a statement on Tuesday apologizing to his victims.
“I want to apologize to the Neville-Lake, Neville and Frias families for the terrible pain I have caused them and their loved ones. I ruined their lives and I take full responsibility for what I have done. I always will.
“I was careless and irresponsible when I made the choice to drink and drive. There is no way that I can undo the damage that I have caused. I will live with this for the rest of my life.”
The board did not explain why the media could not attend by remote technology such as teleconference, except to say it is focused at this time on facilitating participation by victims and “offender assistants.” Ms. Knowles said the board is being open and transparent by making its written reasons for its decision public, possibly as soon as Wednesday.
The board is not required to hear any subsequent request for full parole for Mr. Muzzo for a year, Ms. Knowles said.
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