Nicholas Cruz who killed 17 people at a Florida high school in 2018, will be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole after the jury could not unanimously agree on the death penalty, it was reported Thursday. Some parents of the victims sobbed as they left court.
The jury’s recommendation came after seven hours of deliberations over two days, ending a three-month trial that included graphic videos, photographs, and testimonies of the massacre and its aftermath, harrowing testimonies from the families of the victims and a tour of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where there are still traces of blood.
According to the law of Florida, a death sentence requires a unanimous vote on at least one count. Judge Elizabeth Scherer will formally issue the sentence on November 1. Family members, along with injured students and teachers, will have an opportunity to speak at that hearing.
Cruz, disheveled, sitting hunched over, stared at the table as the jury’s recommendations were read out. The murmurs increased in the room, where there were more than 30 parents, spouses and other relatives of the victims, when the life sentences were announced. Many shook their heads, looked angry or covered their eyes, while the judge spent 50 minutes reading the jury’s decision for each victim. Some parents sobbed as they left the courthouse.
Cross, 24 years old, pleaded guilty a year ago to murdering 14 students and three staff members and injuring 17 others on February 14, 2018. He said that he chose Valentine’s Day so that Stoneman Douglas students would not be able to celebrate that day anymore.
Cruz’s attorney, Melisa McNeill, and her team never questioned the horror he inflicted, instead asserting that his mother’s alcoholism during pregnancy left him with an FASD. Defense experts said Cruz’s bizarre, troubling and sometimes violent behavior was misdiagnosed as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, meaning that never received proper treatment. That left her widowed foster mother overwhelmed, they said. The defense also alleged that Cruz was sexually abused and raped by a 12-year-old neighbor when he was nine.
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.