An Ohio teenager has been found guilty of intentionally causing the deaths of her boyfriend and his friend by crashing her car into a brick wall at a harrowing speed of 100 mph in an incident the judge characterized as “literal hell on wheels.”
Mackenzie Shirilla, a 19-year-old from Strongsville, Ohio, was visibly distraught in court, breaking down in tears as the verdict was announced. She was convicted of four counts of murder for the fatal crash that occurred in July 2022. The victims of this tragic incident were her 20-year-old boyfriend Dominic Russo and another passenger, 19 year-old Davion Flanagan, as reported by Cleveland.com.
Judge Nncy Margaret Russo of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, who is not related to the deceased Dominic Russo, stated unequivocally, “This was not reckless driving. This was murder.” She further emphasized the calculated nature of Shirilla’s actions, noting, “She had a mission, and she executed it with precision. The decision was death.”
Security footage played a crucial role in the trial, capturing Shirilla’s Toyota Camry accelerating to 100 mph just moments before the fatal crash. The judge remarked on the transformation evident in the footage, saying, “She morphs from a responsible driver to literal hell on wheels as she makes her way down the street.”
The prosecution built a strong case, highlighting that Shirilla had chosen a specific route, one she had visited just days prior, and opted to drive early in the morning, a time when few would be around to either witness the act or provide immediate assistance. Both Russo and Flanagan were pronounced dead at the scene, while Shirilla was discovered unconscious, her foot still pressing down on the accelerator.
Upon regaining consciousness in the hospital, Shirilla’s demeanor was described as one filled with “grief, guilt, and shame.” Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim Troup argued that Shirilla’s intent was clear: She wanted to end Dominic Russo’s life after their relationship soured. He added, “Davion was just cargo.”
Further evidence of Shirilla’s intent was presented in the form of statements she made in the weeks leading up to the crash. One such piece of evidence was a video where she threatened to vandalize Russo’s car.
Despite the presence of THC in her system, which exceeded the state’s legal limit, prosecutors did not press charges for driving under the influence. Shirilla’s defense attorney, Jim McDonnell, had earlier requested a lesser charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, arguing the uncertainty surrounding the events inside the car prior to the crash.
The verdict has elicited strong reactions from both sides. While Shirilla’s supporters expressed their shock and called for an appeal, the victims’ families felt a sense of justice.
“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,” said Jamie Flanagan, mother of the late Davion.