TORONTO — Prosecutors say they'll seek a six-month prison sentence for a woman who threw a lawn chair off a high-rise balcony in downtown Toronto, after the 19-year-old pleaded guilty before a packed courtroom on Friday.
Marcella Zoia, 19, pleaded guilty to mischief causing danger to life, acknowledging she was the woman seen tossing the chair toward a busy highway in a video that went viral in February.
Zoia's lawyer, Greg Leslie, said a six-month sentence would be "excessive" for a woman his client's age.
"She is a young lady who made a mistake," Leslie said outside court, claiming Zoia was peer-pressured into doing the stunt.
"One of the factors the judge has to examine is the issue of rehabilitation. She is, in my opinion, already a changed woman and will be doing much better."
Leslie said he'll be seeking a suspended sentence, in which Zoia would be under probation and other conditions set by the judge.
He said he expects two other charges in the incident — mischief endangering property under $5,000 and common nuisance — will be dropped.
A sentencing hearing for the mischief charge has been scheduled for Jan. 14.
"She has a lot of anxiety right now knowing that jail is a possibility," said Leslie, adding that a criminal record could affect Zoia's career as a model because she has had to travel to the U.S. for work in the past.
An agreed statement of facts presented in court on Friday outlined that Zoia had thrown the chair from the 45th-floor balcony, narrowly missing a busy highway.
The statement noted that no one was injured but said surveillance footage from the condo building showed there were several people walking through the area at the time of the incident, including a woman with a child in a stroller.
The incident sparked outrage outline when it was posted in February, leading to criticism from the city's mayor and a police request for the public's help in identifying the woman.
Zoia surrendered to police a short time later.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2019.
Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press