YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A jury has returned a verdict in the case of a Canfield man accused of crashing his car in 2017 and leaving his hurt passenger to die.
Michael Malvasi, Jr. was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and OVI charges in the crash that killed Ryan Lanzo.
Tuesday afternoon, Malvasi was found guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide. The judge said he’s guilty on all but the special verdict of knowing he killed Lanzo.
Malvasi is sitting in the Mahoning County Jail Tuesday night waiting to learn when he will be sentenced.
The crash happened four years ago, but the pain is still very real for the victim’s family.
It took less than three hours for a Mahoning County jury to return its verdict against Malvasi, guilty on all counts.
Prosecutors told jurors the evidence shows Malvasi was driving drunk early the morning of November 18, 2017, when he crashed his car and Lanzo was killed.
Malvasi’s attorney claims the evidence does not provide Malvasi was driving at the time of the crash, even if the defendant did make a number of bad decisions then.
Malvasi has repeatedly claimed Lanzo was the driver.
As Judge Maureen Sweeney read the verdicts Tuesday afternoon, deputies placed handcuffs on the defendant. He was convicted on aggravated vehicular homicide, OVI and tampering with evidence in connection with the car crash death of Lanzo in November 2017.
“At least I can be sure that they went through everything. They evaluated the evidence. They went through everything that we gave them and, as always, I respect their decision,” said Attorney Mike Yacovone.
Prosecutors credited the work of State Troopers who, as they told jurors during closing arguments Tuesday morning, “meticulously” pieced the evidence together.
“They did a bang-up job. One of the best investigations I’ve ever seen, and I know the Lanzo family appreciates it,” Yacovone said.
After mouthing the words “Iove you” to his family, Malvasi was led away by deputies.
After talking with prosecutors, the victim’s family left without comment.
For now, Malvasi’s bond has been revoked. On Friday, his sentencing date was set for July 26.
Prosecutors have said he could face around 15-years in prison.