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An Ohio teenager was found guilty of murder Mondayafter being charged with intentionally killing her boyfriend and his friend by crashing her car into a brick building at 100 mph last year.
Mackenzie Shirilla, 19, was declared guilty in a bench trial on 12 counts: four counts of murder, four counts of criminal assault, two counts of aggravated vehicular manslaughter, one count of drug possession, and one count of possession of criminal tools.
Shirilla broke down in tears as Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Nancy Margaret Russo said: “This was not reckless driving. This was murder.”in the verdict reading reported by NBC News on Monday.
The accident occurred at around 5:30 a.m. on July 31, 2022 when the young woman sped her Toyota Camry into the Plidco buildinga large brick building at the intersection of Progress and Alameda Drive in Cleveland, a suburb of Strongsville, police and prosecutors said.
When the police arrived at the scene, around 45 minutes later, They found the car with “severe damage and full airbags”. Inside were Shirilla, then 17, her boyfriend Dominic Russo, 20, and his friend Davion Flanagan, 19.
They were found unconscious, not breathing and trapped in the vehicle, police said at the time. Shirilla was transported to a local hospital, but Russo and Flanagan pronounced them dead at the scene.
Shirilla was 18 years old when she went arrested on November 4, 2022 in connection with the accident.
The prosecutors argued that Shirilla had a toxic relationship with Russo and had threatened to crash his vehicle two weeks before the accident, because she was upset about a disagreement they had.
At that point, Russo called his mother and asked her to pick him up, though a friend eventually came looking for him. During a phone call between the teens, the friend allegedly heard Shirilla say, “I’m going to crash this car right now,” prosecutors said in court documents.
The same month as the accident, Shirilla allegedly “made multiple threats” toward Russo. Videos recovered from her phone revealed an altercation in which the young woman was heard “repeatedly demeaning Russo, threatening him and damaging his property,” prosecutors said in court documents.
Judge Nancy Margaret Russo delivered a stinging description of the case before reading the verdict, saying Shirilla was on a mission that she executed with precision on that fateful day, and “the mission was death.”
“The video of the accident clearly shows the purpose and intent of the defendant. She chose a course of death and destruction that day,” Judge Russo said.
“She transforms from a responsible driver to literally hell on wheels as she zips down the street,” the judge said, noting that Shirilla made a calculated decision to drive that morning, when not many people were around, on a dark road that she I didn’t drink regularly.
Prosecutor Michael O’Malley told NBC affiliate WKYC of Cleveland that video of the accident was damning in the case and said: “The intent was obvious from watching that video that there was only one target.”
Jaime Flanagan, Flanagan’s mother, told the station after the verdict: “Not a day goes by that we don’t miss our son and today he was served justice. But honestly, there are no winners here. There are no winners here today.”
She is due back in court for sentencing on August 21.