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19-year-old white teen faces life for intentionally crashing car after going 100 mph and killing two, including black teen who was simply ‘looking for a ride’

An Ohio teen is facing life in prison after being convicted of murdering two young men in a car crash last summer when she allegedly drove a car into a brick warehouse at 100 mph on purpose.

Mackenzie Shirilla, 19, was found guilty of four counts each of murder and felony assault, two counts of aggravated vehicular manslaughter, one count of drug possession and one count of possession of criminal tools. The allegations stem from a crash in suburban Cleveland last July that killed her boyfriend, 20-year-old Dominic Russo, and passenger, 19-year-old Davion Flanagan.

Shirilla was 17 at the time of the crash.

Mackenzie Shirilla (center) was convicted of murdering her boyfriend Dominic Russo (left) and boyfriend Davion Flanagan (right) after she deliberately crashed her car into a brick warehouse after traveling at 100 mph. (Photos left and center: YouTube/WKYC Channel 3, photo right: Jardine Funeral Home)

Surveillance footage, which was a key element in the case, showed Shirilla slowly turning down a street before slamming her Toyota Camry through the street until it reached 100 mph and crashed. Data from the car’s computer showed that the car reached that speed before crashing at around 5:30 a.m. on July 31, 2022.

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Police said when first responders arrived at the scene, they had to extricate all occupants who were trapped and unconscious from Shirilla’s Toyota Camry. Authorities found Russo and Flanagan dead at the scene. Shirilla was airlifted to a hospital, where she recovered from her injuries.

The judge in Shirilla’s trial said the final seconds in the surveillance video capturing the crash were “key to her verdict”, making it an open and closed case.

“She transforms from responsible driver to literal hell on wheels. She had a mission and she carried it out with precision,” said Common Pleas Court Judge Nancy Margaret Russo. “Her actions were controlled, methodical, deliberate, deliberate and purposeful. This was not reckless driving. This was murder.”

The judge also cited that Shirilla drove the car to an obscure route she doesn’t normally take and made the only decision to drive early in the morning when few people would be around to provide life-saving assistance.

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Shirilla had THC in her system above the legal limit, but when she saw those final moments on tape, prosecutors forced her to charge her with murder instead of drunk driving, and try her as an adult.

“If you drive with the pedal all the way down for four or five seconds until you enter a building at 100 mph, we felt the charge was appropriate,” O’Malley said.

Doctors did note that while in the hospital, Shirilla expressed “shame and guilt” over the hospital crash. Prosecutors used that to prove she had a “consciousness of guilt.” They also pointed to statements made by the 19-year-old weeks before the accident, including one in which she threatened to key in her boyfriend’s car.

Shirilla’s attorney argued that prosecutors had insufficient evidence to prove that Shirilla crashed on purpose, and not just lost control of the car, as many teenage drivers do.

Shirilla’s sentence automatically carries a life sentence without the possibility of parole until she has served 15 years of her sentence.

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A GoFundMe page set up to pay for Dominic Russo’s funeral expenses described Russo as someone who “brought so much happiness and joy to others.”

Davion Flanagan’s father posted on Facebook that he hoped the judge would reach “a verdict that is fair and brings peace to Davion and Dominic’s families.”

“We are not seeking vengeance, only justice for our son, who was nothing more than an innocent passenger looking for a ride home,” Flanagan wrote.

Read the full story here.

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