From the Daily Wire:
In the sentencing trial of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School gunman, who killed 17 people on Valentine’s Day 2018, a Florida jury has rendered a judgment. In a moment, each charge’s verdict will be read.
The gunman was in the punishment phase of his trial after last year’s guilty plea to seventeen charges of murder. With the youngest victim being only 14 years old, there were 14 pupils and three faculty members slain.
If the jury decides to execute someone, it must be unanimous. If not, the gunman will be given a life sentence for what the prosecution referred to as a “systematic massacre” during closing arguments.
This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.
UPDATE From New York Post:
In one of the worst and most heinous mass killings in American history, a jury has reached a decision in the trial of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz, who killed 14 students and three instructors. Following the reading of the jury verdicts in each of the 17 slayings, Judge Elizabeth Scherer will decide whether to sentence Cruz to death or life in prison.
As a result, the jury has recommended that he be given a life sentence for 12 out of the 17 victims.
Emotions ran high in the courtroom as the judgments were read out, and many of Cruz’s victims’ heartbroken parents sobbed and buried their heads in their hands. Cruz’s fate was decided by a jury of seven women and five men in only one day after an agonizing three-month trial. Cruz, a former student at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, entered the three-story structure on Valentine’s Day of 2018 and started shooting randomly.
Cruz’s defense counsel had suggested that the carnage may have been lessened by the killer’s troubled and terrible background. Cruz, now 24 years old, was adopted as a baby by a Florida couple. He was born to a crack and alcohol-dependent prostitute. Although Lynda and Roger Cruz, the child’s adoptive parents, gave him a secure home, his attorneys said the harm had already been done.
They said that Cruz’s birth mother’s frequent drinking, while he was still in the womb, was what first caused his brain to deteriorate. His defense team called a number of experts who testified that he most likely had fetal alcohol syndrome. They said that Cruz’s developing mental illness was also influenced by other distressing aspects of his early life, such as witnessing his adoptive father pass away from a heart attack when he was only five years old. Just four months before the massacre, Lynda Cruz also passed away.
However, the prosecution argued for the death penalty, arguing that the heinous murders’ diabolical and planned character called for the most severe punishment. Cruz confessed to having fantasies about a mass shooting many years before the tragedy during the taped jailhouse talks with a doctor that were aired during the hearing. Before carrying out his plan, Cruz claimed to have researched the techniques employed in comparable situations, such as the bloodshed at Columbine and Virginia Tech. He claimed to have carefully planned his attack, factoring in police reaction times, picking out his weapons, and devising a route out of the area.
The majority of the cases brought by the prosecution focused on demonstrating the enormity of the tragedy and its effects on the relatives of the victims. The horrifying events of the mass shooting and its aftermath were described on the stand by a line of distraught survivors and relatives of the deceased. During particularly gruesome parts of the evidence, members of the court gallery frequently left the room in tears.
Throughout the trial, Cruz regularly spoke with his counsel and repeatedly buried his head in his hands as witnesses described the crimes in painful detail. Former pupils testified before jurors that they saw Cruz shoot dead their classmates with an AR-15 weapon before turning around and killing some of the injured people up close. Others remembered huddling on top of one another in classrooms that were filled with bullet holes, often only a few steps away from hurt and fatally wounded students.
The grisly murder scene, which has not changed since the slaughter, was shown to the jury. After the about six-minute spree, Cruz strolled to a mall and got a drink casually before being apprehended by police as he was walking along a street about two miles from the school.
Cruz, who was 19 when the deaths occurred, previously entered a guilty plea in October 2021.
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