Drunk driver who killed 4 still lacking insight into prior alcohol use: parole board

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TORONTO — Parole board officials say a drunk driver who killed three children and their grandfather in a Toronto-area crash still has difficulty recognizing that his attitude towards alcohol prior to the incident was problematic.

The Parole Board of Canada raised several concerns today in releasing its written reasons for granting Marco Muzzo full parole.

Muzzo, 34, appeared before the board via videoconference earlier this month and was questioned over the factors that led to the 2015 crash.

In the document issued today, the board said that while Muzzo has made progress in each of his hearings, some of his answers suggest he is still lacking insight on issues related to alcohol and empathy.

It notes Muzzo told the two-member panel he considered his alcohol use before the crash “under control and manageable,” and either was unaware of some of his other driving infractions or trying to minimize them.

Muzzo pleaded guilty in 2016 to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

He was sentenced to 10 years behind bars and is under a 12-year driving ban.

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 Vaughan, Ont.

The board imposed a number of restrictions when it granted Muzzo parole on Feb. 9, including that he not consume alcohol or go into bars and strip clubs, and that he stay out of Brampton, Ont., and the Regional Municipality of York.

The geographic limitations are meant to reduce the likelihood of accidental contact with the victims’ relatives. The board gave “considerable weight” to the family’s statements regarding their “unrelenting grief, anger, fear, and frustration,” it said in the document.

“Their anguish is palpable. Your choices and actions have left them struggling psychologically, emotionally, physically and financially,” the board said.

Muzzo, while stressing the importance of prioritizing the Neville-Lake family’s needs, proposed moving back into the home he shares with his fiancee, which is close to a memorial for the victims and in an area regularly visited by their relatives, the board noted.

“It appeared to the board that you were thinking more of your own interests than those of the people harmed by your offending,” the panel wrote.

“The board is concerned that your focus on yourself gives rise to a risk of you deliberately or inadvertently moving within the relevant geographic region without fully considering or respecting victim concerns.”

It may eventually be desirable for Muzzo to return to his home community, but any such move is premature and would have a “significant negative impact” on the Neville-Lake family, the board said.

Muzzo had sought full parole last April, but was denied at the time and given day parole instead.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press