An Ohio teen is facing life in prison after being convicted of murdering her boyfriend and his friend by deliberately driving her car into a brick wall at 100 mph — with a judge calling her “literal hell on wheels.”
Mackenzie Shirilla, 19, sobbed in court as she was found guilty of four counts of murder for the July 2022 crash that killed her boyfriend, Dominic Russo, 20, as well as fellow passenger Davion Flanagan, 19, Cleveland.com reported.
“This was not reckless driving. This was murder,” Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Nancy Margaret Russo told the court Monday.
“She had a mission, and she executed it with precision,” said the judge, who is not related to the boyfriend Shirilla killed when she was just 17 simply because their months-long fling was on the outs.
“The decision was death.”
Shirilla, of Strongsville, was also found guilty of four counts of felonious assault and two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, according to 3News.
Her conviction carries an automatic sentence of life in prison with no opportunity for parole for 15 years, Cleveland.com said of sentencing set for Monday.
Security video captured Shirilla acting with “purpose and intent” by flooring her Toyota Camry to 100 mph moments before it jumped a curb and careened into a brick warehouse, the judge said.
“She morphs from a responsible driver to literal hell on wheels as she makes her way down the street,” the judge said.
“Mackenzie alone made the decision to drive the car, to drive an obscure route, a route she visited a few days before, and a route not routinely taken by her.
“Mackenzie alone chose a time to make the drive, early in the morning, when any reasonable person would expect a few people would be nearby to witness it or offer life-saving assistance,” the judge said of the 6:15 a.m. crash.
Russo, who was in the passenger seat, and Flanagan, who was in the back, were both declared dead at the scene.
Shirilla was found unconscious with her fuzzy Prada slippers still on the accelerator, Cleveland.com reported.
When she woke up in the hospital after the accident, doctors said she displayed “grief, guilt and shame” about what happened, which the state’s attorneys also took as “consciousness of guilt,” the court was told.
Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim Troup told the court that the teen wanted to murder Dominic Russo after their months-long fling fizzled out.
“Davion was just cargo,” Troup said, per Cleveland.com.
“Whatever she had in for Dominic, [Flanagan] was just along with his friend and got sucked into a toxic relationship and just got in the wrong seat that night.”
Prosecutors also pointed to statements Shirilla made in the weeks before the crash, including one video in which she threatened to key Russo’s car, as evidence of intent.
Shirilla had THC in her system over the state’s legal limit, but prosecutors did not pursue driving under the influence charges.
The teen’s attorney, Jim McDonnell, previously asked Judge Russo to find his client guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide but to acquit her of murder.
“We are really never going to know what happened in that car,” McDonnell said.
“Much less prove with evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that … present in the mind of Mackenzie was a specific intent to cause the death of her boyfriend and their friend.”
Shirilla supporters also cried during the proceedings and shouted their support as she was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
Shirilla’s mother told 3News the family was shocked by the verdict, and said she wants her daughter to appeal.
“We are just thankful that we feel justice was served today,” Flanagan’s mother, Jaime, told the outlet.
“There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t miss our son and justice was served for him today. But honestly there’s no winners here. There’s no winners here today.”
She and Christine Russo, Dominic’s mother, shared an emotional moment after the verdict came down.
“We’re just hugging each other and we’re sorry that this happened. We’re sad, we’re sorry, but we’re thankful. We’re thankful,” she explained.
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