December 5, 2022

East Valley Times

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The Parkland massacre will not carry the death penalty

Nikolas Cruz listens to the verdict of his sentence.

A jury read opinion Thursday, but the judge did not convict in the trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz for the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 people.

The judge ordered sentencing for November 1 after victims’ lawyers requested to hear survivors’ testimony.

The victims were Jamie Guttenberg, 17; Alyssa Alhadeff, 15 years old; Nicholas Duoret, 18 years old; Meadow Pollock, 18; Cara Lauren, 14 years old; Gina Montaldo, age 14; Joaquin Oliver, 17; Martin Duke, 14; Luke Hoyer, 15; Alaina Petty, 14; Carmen Schendrup, 16; Alex Schachter, 14 years old; Peter Wang, 15 years old; Helena Bamsey, 17 years old; Scott Baikal, 35 years; Aaron Feis, 37 years old; Chris Hickson, 49 years old.

The recommendation was not immediately made public and came in the second day of deliberations, 15 minutes after jurors arrived and examined the gun Cruz used.

The decision promised to end a three-month investigation that included graphic videos, photographs and testimony of the massacre and its aftermath, shocking testimony from victims’ relatives and a tour of the still-splattered building.

Linda Baikal Shulman, Michael Shulman, Patricia Batau Oliver and Fred Guttenberg embrace the families of the victims as they await the verdict (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Bul via REUTERS)
Linda Baikal Shulman, Michael Shulman, Patricia Batau Oliver and Fred Guttenberg embrace the families of the victims as they await the verdict (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Bul via REUTERS)

A 12-person jury was asked to see an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle Wednesday night, but the Broward County Sheriff’s Office security team objected, saying that even if the gun malfunctioned, Cruz’s ammunition would be removed from the jury room.

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Mike Chats, a leading attorney with more than five decades of experience, noted In every murder case he tried or heard of, the judges had to examine the weapon in his room and deal with it, and stated that a machete or machete is more dangerous than a hammerless pistol. Security was never an issue, he said.

Cruz’s attorneys They didn’t object For the judges to see the gun.

Cruz, 24, pleaded guilty a year ago On February 14, 2018, 14 students and three staff were killed and 17 others injured. Cruz said Valentine’s Day was chosen so that Stoneman Douglas students could not celebrate the holiday again. The jury will only decide whether Cruz should be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole. In order to sentence Cruz to death, the jury must be unanimous.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz is seen on a television screen in the press room next to the courtroom as Judge Elizabeth Scherer reads the verdict at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.  October 13, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz is seen on a television screen in the press room next to the courtroom as Judge Elizabeth Scherer reads the verdict at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. October 13, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello

During the prosecution’s rebuttal case, Chadz and his team argued that Cruz’s smooth movements with the gun and ease with reloading showed. No neurological disorders, Their lawyers say.

is murder The worst shooting ever to be investigated in America. Another nine people who shot at least 17 people in the U.S. died during or immediately after their suicide attacks or police shootings. A suspect in the 2019 slayings of 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas is awaiting trial.

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(With information from AP)

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