Marcella Zoia, 19, is accused of throwing a chair from the 45th floor of an apartment building in Toronto in a viral video that circulated on Facebook. According to police in the city, Zoia handed herself into authorities on the morning of February 13. The clip was filmed on February 9 at around 10 a.m., by February 11 it had spread across social media. Zoia, who lives in Toronto, made her first appearance in court in College Park on February 13, Toronto police said in a statement.
Zoia was represented in court by “Toronto’s Top Criminal Defense Lawyer,” Greg Leslie.
Zoia is facing charges of mischief-endangering life, mischief to property and common nuisance. Zoia has been released into the custody of her mother on a $2,000 bail. She is not allowed to have any contact with the other four people who were involved in the filming of the chair throwing video. 680News’ Momin Qureshi reports that in court, Zoia’s lawyer said his client “wishes this never happened, that she’s been under intense scrutiny and that she’s extremely embarrassed and will never do this again.”
Global News reports that the throwing took place on February 9 at around 10 a.m. in the area of Harbour and York Streets, along Bremner Boulevard. The video had the caption, “Good Morning.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Zoia Has Been Referred to as a ‘Popular Influencer’
Since the video of the chair throwing went viral, Zoia has deleted her Instagram and Facebook pages. Zoia formerly went by the handle “@Marcellacz_” on Instagram. A cached version of that page shows a Brazilian flag in Zoia’s Instagram bio. That version shows that Zoia had close to 4,000 followers after making 108 posts.
A Reddit page on Zoia refers to her as a “popular influencer.” Amid the fallout, a fake Instagram account with the handle @TorontoChairGirl has appeared.
2. Zoia ‘Has a Criminal History’
Police described Zoia’s actions as “very callous” while also thanking social media tipsters for helping investigators to identify her. Constable David Hopkinson told the media after Zoia’s arrest, “(She had) no regard for anybody that might be passing underneath. I can think of some pretty horrific situations… People were absolutely outraged. That is likely why we got so much help from the public.”
Hopkinson added that the area around the building is often swarmed with tourists. Mayor John Tory told the media that the Marcella Zoia’s actions demonstrated “idiotic behavior.” He added, “This could have caused death or injury and is not acceptable.”
CTV’s Adrian Ghobrial tweeted that Zoia “has a criminal history.” Zoia was clad in a leather jacket, black pants and high heels as she tossed the chair off of the 45th-floor balcony towards the passing traffic below. The clip cuts off before the chair hits the ground.
The day before Zoia was arrested, Constable Hopkinson told CBC, “We are in the midst of contacting her and giving her an opportunity to consult a lawyer and turn herself in.” After Zoia turned herself into 52 division around 7 a.m. on February 13, Constable Hopkinson told the Globe and Mail that investigators were allowed her to “tell her side of the story.”
3. The Thrown Chair Was ‘Damaged Beyond Recognition’
CTV News cites a law enforcement source saying that the chair was recovered close to the building’s entrance and was damaged “almost beyond recognition.” A photo of the mangled chair has been posted online. That report adds that another chair, as well as other objects, were also thrown from the balcony but not recorded.
4. Zoia’s Alleged Actions Have Come in for Harsh Criticism on Social Media
Zoia’s alleged actions have seen her come in for serious criticism on social media. One person wrote on a Reddit page dedicated to the incident, “They could have legitimately killed someone. This is disgusting. People thinking they’re edgy and funny for being complete assholes.” Another said, “The fact that it landed where a child could’ve been locking up their bike makes this so much scarier. The chair hypothetically landing on a car is equally as dangerous but the image of it smashed beside a bike rack just really drives the seriousness of this crime home.”
A Toronto Star column from Emma Teitel on the incident has called Zoia “a symptom of a bigger problem.” Under a Toronto Sun article on Zoia, a commenter said, “Please make an example out of this low life! No excuse for this kind of behaviour! Some Jail Time Community Service Probation! Yes Please….”
In the comments section under the viral Facebook posting, one person said, “Omg is she F-ing NUTS. That could of killed someone and caused a SERIOUS ACCIDENT.. stupid people these days holy s***! I hope that stupid ass gets caught and gets charged.” While a Twitter user said, “This is by far the stupidest thing someone could have done. You could have caused an accident. Someone or people could have lost their lives. #attemptedmurder I say.”
5. AirBnB Said They Will Suspend Zoia’s Account
The suspect was staying at the home as part of an Airbnb rental. The company said in a statement about the incident, “We are outraged by the blatant disregard for community safety on display in the video. We will be suspending any guest’s accounts that appear to be connected to this incident.”
Mayor Tory told the Toronto Star’s David Rider that incident is not related to the delay in new AirBnB rules being implemented in the city. The rules are related to Toronto’s problem with “ghost hotels.”