Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Girl involved in crash that killed cabbie, is not laughing anymore

Teen involved in crash that killed cabbie, tells her story

She has become known as the "laughing girl" -- a troubled Winnipeg teen who made headlines across the country with her callous reaction to a stolen-car crash that killed an innocent cab driver.
Now, the 18-year-old is telling her story for the first time in a letter to the Free Press, with a tone much more serious than her earlier words in court.
"I know I've done a lot of bad things in my life and the crash was about the worst," the teen begins in a handwritten, two-page letter sent to the Free Press. "But I've said sorry over and over again.
"I know and remember all the cruel and negative things I said in the past, but I was a younger girl trying to play a tough guy role, when I'm nowhere near tough."
The girl wrote the letter from inside Portage Correctional Institute, where she is currently an inmate following her latest arrest on Dec. 30 for breaching her court-ordered curfew while on probation.

She repeatedly speaks of remorse for Antonio Lanzellotti, the man who died in March 2008 after his cab was struck by a speeding, stolen SUV containing the girl and six other youths.
"I've wrote a letter to Tony's brother. I've offered tobacco to Tony -- it's a sacred traditional offering. I've asked for forgiveness from the Lord...," she said. "I'm also aware of what people think of me, pointing out and making me believe that I should've replaced Tony's destiny, that I should be lying there in his grave. Yet I know in my heart the Lord would never punish me to death."
The teen pleaded guilty in June 2008 to being a passenger in the stolen SUV and was given time in custody and two years of probation. The case angered the public after court heard of chilling statements she made to police following her arrest, including a claim she "didn't care" about Lanzellotti and that he "had to die sometime anyway." She was also seen smiling, laughing and twirling her hair as stunned police officers looked on.
Police rearrested the girl days later for violating her probation. She pleaded guilty the following day and was released once again.
Her freedom was again short-lived as police caught her days later attempting to cut off her electronic ankle bracelet that had been imposed following her initial sentencing. She was the first female in Manitoba to be outfitted with the device.
The girl even posted pictures on the Internet that showed her smirking and prominently displaying the ankle bracelet. There were also two photos of the horrific crash, with her using the caption "(expletive) deaaadly!" to describe one of them. The teen also posted media reports detailing her role in the crash, suggesting she's enjoying all the attention.
She has continued to go through the revolving door of justice and is awaiting sentencing for her latest breach, which happened just days after she was sentenced last December to 47 days of time in custody for once again cutting off her electronic monitoring bracelet -- this time in November 2009 so she could attend a fashion show at the Pony Corral. Crown attorney Liz Pats has repeatedly urged the courts to keep the girl locked up, describing her case as "a nightmare."
"Do you know how emotionally involved I am in this tragic disaster?" the girl wrote in her letter. "I've said some stuff I shouldn't of, but I'm still trying to take everything back. I've changed and even though I keep getting incarcerated there's still a lot of things that I do differently."
Her parents have repeatedly been praised by the courts for trying to keep their daughter in line -- including twice turning her in to police because of breaches -- and previously said they are at a loss to explain her continued shocking behaviour. They say their daughter's downward spiral began in 2007 after her 14-year-old best friend killed herself.
Last December, provincial court Judge Marva Smith ordered the girl to undergo a psychological assessment after court heard she had attempted suicide days before her November arrest.
In the letter, the teen takes aim at Winnipeg media for focusing on her case and repeatedly writing about her dealings with the justice system.
"You guys won't let anyone really forgive me. You guys continue to try and explain how I'm so unremorseful, how I don't care about anything that's happened. Well you guys are wrong! I ain't saying anything I did was right, though," she wrote.
The girl suggests media should do more stories about the social problems plaguing the city's North End, where she grew up, and focusing on "the charities that need more donations."

No comments:

Post a Comment