the judgment of Nicholas Cruza young man who killed 17 people in 2018 in one of the worst school massacres in the United States, began this Monday in Florida to set his sentence: death sentence or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Sitting between two of his lawyers, the 23-year-old defendant listened with his head down, taking notes on some sheets of paper, the opening statement of the lead prosecutor in the case, Michael Satz, before the jury of a court in Fort Lauderdale, north of Miami.
On February 14, 2018, Cruz sowed panic in Parklanda small town north of Miamiwhen he walked into Marjory Stoneman High School with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, from where he had been expelled a year earlier. In a few minutes, he killed 14 students and three adults, and caused 17 injuries, acts for which he pleaded guilty in October.
The shooting shocked the entire country and, especially in the south of Floridawhere nearly three months were needed to select 12 jurors – seven men and five women – considered impartial enough to decide Cruz’s fate. The trial will determine whether the defendant deserves to be sentenced to death, as prosecutors are asking.
According to the laws of FloridaFor that to happen, the jury must reach a unanimous decision. If even one of its members rejects capital punishment, the youth’s sentence will be life imprisonment without parole.
“Cold, calculating and deadly”
The prosecutor described in great detail what happened on February 14, 2018 at the school of Parklandcausing the tears of several relatives of the victims sitting in the room. Before the jury, he qualified Cruz of “cold, calculating, manipulative and deadly”, insisting on the premeditated nature of the shooting.
Sentence he recalled, for example, that the confessed murderer had recorded a video in which he announced his plans before the massacre.
“I am going to be the next school shooter of 2018. My goal is [matar] at least 20 people he said on that recording, the prosecutor recalled. Cruz’s lawyers are expected to argue that their client has mental disorders and recall that, in October, he apologized for his actions.
Despite his psychiatric history and warnings from several relatives about his danger, Cruz was able to legally purchase a semi-automatic rifle.
An unusual trial
The trial, which is likely to last several months, is unusual for USAwhere it is rare for the perpetrators of such a massacre to survive their attack. And it will certainly turn heads in a country rocked by a series of bloody shootings, including that of an elementary school in Uvalde (Texas), where 19 children and two adults died in May.
When it happened, the massacre of Parkland It was the worst in a school in the United States since the shooting at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, in which 26 people died. The news provoked an unprecedented mobilization led by several young survivors and parents of victims. On March 24, 2018, the “March for our lives” brought together 1.5 million people across the country, the largest demonstration ever held in the United States in favor of greater gun control.
Despite the hopes of the protesters, no legislative reform was approved in Congress, and arms sales have continued to increase in recent years in the country, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19. More than 24,000 people have been killed, including 13,000 suicides, since the beginning of the year, according to the Gun Violence Archives website. Following the recent shootings, a modest federal law was passed providing for increased funding for school safety and mental health.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.