‘Hell on wheels’ Ohio teen makes tearful apology as she’s sentenced for deadly crash

The Ohio teen who murdered her boyfriend and his friend by deliberately slamming her car into a wall at 100 mph made a tearful apology insisting that she would never have killed her “soulmate” on purpose — as she was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison Monday.

Mackenzie Shirilla, 19, who has been dubbed “hell on wheels,” learned her fate Monday after being convicted last week of four counts of murder in the July 2022 crash that killed her boyfriend, Dominic Russo, 20, and his friend Davion Flanagan, 19.

She was sentenced to two concurrent 15 years-to-life sentences for the warehouse wreck in the Cleveland suburb of Strongsville. 

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Nancy Margaret Russo said she grappled with whether to slap Shirilla with consecutive or concurrent sentences, NBC News reported.

“I understand that the pain in this room wants me to impose the harshest sentence, but I don’t believe that would be the appropriate sentence, because I do believe that Mackenzie won’t be out in 15 years,” the judge said.

Mackenzie Shirilla tearfully reads an apology
Mackenzie Shirilla tearfully reads an apology before being sentenced to 15 years to life for deliberately slamming her car into a brick wall at 100 mph, killing her boyfriend Dominic Russo, 20, and his friend Davion Flanagan, 19.
NBC News

Mackenzie Shirilla in court
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Nancy Margaret Russo said there is “a very good likelihood” Shirilla could spend the rest of her life in the slammer.
NBC News

Russo, who is not related to Dominic, added that there is “a very good likelihood” Shirilla could spend the rest of her life behind bars — depending on her behavior and the parole board’s decision.

She also was convicted of felonious assault, aggravated vehicular homicide and other crimes after killing Russo just because their months-long relationship had fizzled.

Shirilla, who did not testify during the bench trial, read a statement apologizing to the families of the victims.

Shirilla and Dominic Russo
Shirilla and Dominic Russo.
Facebook / Natalie Shirilla

“The families of Dominic and Davion, I’m so deeply sorry. I hope one day you can see I would never let this happen or do it on purpose. I wish I could remember what happened,” she said, sobbing.

“We were all friends, and Dom was my soul mate,” Shirilla continued. “I wish I could take all your pain away. And to my family, thank you for the support and all the love you guys give. I love you all so much.”

The victims’ relatives also addressed the court before sentencing.

Russo with Mackenzie and her family.
Frank Russo, center, said he didn’t want to see Shirilla spend her life in prison.
Family Handout

“Mackenzie, going to prison because you did this, be thankful you’re still alive and have a future, whatever that may be,” said Dominic’s mother, Christine Russo, NBC News reported.

“Dom and Davion were robbed of their futures, their hopes and their dreams. Mackenzie showed no mercy on Dominic, nor did she on Davion. Only God at this time can have mercy on her soul,” the grieving mom added.

Flanagan’s mother, Jamie Flanagan, said she was “devastated” by the loss.

“So many dreams shattered, a future stolen. We will never get to see the amazing man that he would surely be,” she said, The US Sun reported.

Dominic Russo and Mackenzie Shirilla
The judge called Shirilla a “literal hell on wheels” for smashing into a brick building at 100 mph.
Mackenzie Shirilla

Flanagan’s sister, Davyne Flanagan, said: “I feel stuck. I feel like I can’t move forward.

“I feel lost. … I would like you to give Mackenzie the longest possible sentence. I’ve known her for about three years, and she’s always taking the easy way out,” she added, according to NBC News.

Shirilla’s mother, Natalie, pleaded for leniency from the judge, saying her daughter had spent months in bed next to a “shrine” she built for Russo.

“I’m asking for leniency because this is a tragic accident she doesn’t remember. Davion … he’s a new friend,” Natalie said before the judge cut her off.

“What does that mean? His life was worthless?” Russo said, prompting Natalie to apologize to the mourning families.

Davion Flanagan
Davion Flanagan, who was in the backseat, was also killed in the crash.
Jardine Funeral Home

Before the sentencing, prosecutors also presented TikTok videos showing Shirilla at a concert and celebrating Halloween after the deadly crash – as well as one of her claiming, “I’m the one you die for,” The Messenger and NBC News reported.

In another TikTok video, Shirilla claimed, “I’m not even cool, I’m just one of those girls that can do a lot of drugs and not die,” according to The Messenger.

When Shirilla was convicted after the four-day, non-jury trial last week, the judge said the two young men experienced sheer terror in their final seconds.

“This was not reckless driving — this was murder,” Russo said. “She had a mission, and she executed it with precision. The decision was death.”

The wrecked car.
Prosecutors said Shirilla planned to kill Russo because their relationship was ending.

Russo and Flanagan were both declared dead at the scene, while Shirilla was found unconscious with her fuzzy Prada slippers still on the accelerator.

She had THC in her system over the legal limit, but the prosecution decided not to pursue charges of driving under the influence.

Dominic’s dad, Frank Russo, 61, last week said he didn’t want to see his son’s killer spend the rest of her life in prison.

“It’s horrible for everybody. Yeah, I lost my son, it’s harder on our family, but I don’t want the rest of her life ruined too, it isn’t going to make me feel any better,” he told NBC News.

“The whole thing’s just a shame,” the grieving dad added.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
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