Clinton Township man gets 40-60 years for crash that killed his passenger after fleeing police
MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (FOX 2) - The 35-year-old Clinton Township man found guilty of killing his fiancée when she died in a crash while fleeing a traffic stop will spend decades in prison.
A Macomb County circuit judge sentenced Jason Brilla to 40-60 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections after he was convicted on four charges, including second-degree murder.
Family of Jennel Castro, who was the passenger in Brilla's car when he fled Warren police in May 2022 before running a red light and crashing into another vehicle, had statements read to the court during the sentencing.
"I wish I could say more to my mom. Because of you, I won't be able to," read a statement from Castro's son. "Her death is super hard on me. Not just for myself but for my sisters. I'm going to be scarred for the rest of my life."
"You killed my mom. It makes me think you should die too," read a statement from Castro's daughter.
A victim rights coordinator read statements from Castro's son, one from her daughter, as well as from her parents.
Castro made "every gathering a delight" read a statement from her parents.
"We miss Jennel every waking moment. We miss her jokes, her voice, her laughter, and her smile. We miss the annoying ways she would answer the phone when she knew when we were calling. We miss the ways she would walk in the door and hear ‘how much do you love me’ when she needed help with something," it continued.
Prior to hearing his sentence, Brilla apologized for his actions before discussing the loss he has endured.
"We were connected on so many levels. Either one of us would have done anything to make the other happy, which brings me back to the months and days before the horrible day when everything went wrong," he said, reading from a prepared statement.
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Brilla said both he and Castro had warrants and she was scared of getting arrested. He said the two made a "united decision" to flee police.
Judge Diane Druzinski said she didn't buy Brilla's explanation the two had agreed to run from the police.
"I don't imagine if she said 'lets jump off a cliff' you'd jump off a cliff with her," she said. "And the fact that you, after the accident happened, you took off. If it had been a mutual decision to flee and she was the love of your life...I'm pretty sure you would have stayed there and tried to take care of her."
Brilla was found guilty on March 24 after a jury trial. He was also found guilty of fleeing an officer, operating with a suspended license causing death, and assaulting or resisting an officer.