Whereas the sentencing verdict was learn aloud, Cruz stared down at a desk in a gray and black sweater because the faces of victims’ members of the family went clean behind him. Some members of the family within the courtroom gallery have been holding again tears, whereas others remained stoic and barely moved.
Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was murdered by Cruz, stated that “seventeen households have been failed.”
“I will go to the cemetery, and I will inform my daughter what occurred immediately. And I will inform her I like her and at all times will,” stated Guttenberg.
Guttenberg vowed to take care of his dedication to advocating for gun legislation reform throughout the U.S.
Because the jury’s choice handy down a life sentence unfolded in courtroom, a number of information retailers flooded social media with incorrect studies a couple of loss of life sentence. A New York Put up social media line prominently learn “Nikolas Cruz sentenced to loss of life for Parkland bloodbath.”
The confusion might have arisen from the format of the jury’s pronouncement. The jury was tasked with weighing aggravating components like premeditation in opposition to mitigating components like Cruz’s alleged psychological problems. The deciding moments have been when the jury introduced, rely by rely, that the annoying components didn’t outweigh the mitigating ones — a nuance that will have been misplaced within the media fray.
Reuters, amongst different retailers, needed to subject a correction on the sentencing verdict.
Cruz was 19 years outdated when he killed 14 college students and three workers members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty on Valentines Day in 2018. He had been expelled from the varsity a yr earlier for violent conduct and extreme behavioral points.
Final yr, he pleaded responsible to 17 counts of first-degree homicide.
The jury heard weeks of emotional testimony from victims’ households, survivors and college workers earlier than deciding on a life sentence for Cruz.
Dara Hass, who misplaced a number of college students within the bloodbath, had testified that her English college students working quietly on an task inside her classroom within the freshman constructing once they all of a sudden heard a loud popping noise.
Hass thought it was a drill at first however rapidly realized the horror that was going down. “One of many college students was injured,” she defined, in tears. “He didn’t have time to make it out of his desk.”
The sufferer was 14-year-old Alex Schachter, who suffered deadly accidents within the capturing. Hass recognized the opposite victims in her classroom as Alaina Petty and Alyssa Alhadeff.
Lead public defender Melisa McNeill argued in courtroom that Cruz suffered from fetal alcohol spectrum dysfunction on account of his organic mom’s heavy ingesting whereas she was pregnant with him. McNeill stated that the situation led to developmental issues –– together with violent habits –– that have been misdiagnosed by consultants.
“In a civilized, humane society, can we kill brain-damaged, mentally ailing, damaged individuals?” McNeill requested.
Lead prosecutor Michael Satz countered that Cruz was a “coldhearted sociopath” who carried out the February 2018 bloodbath to realize notoriety. Satz stated Cruz methodically deliberate his actions and researched earlier faculty shootings earlier than finishing up the assault.
In a video he recorded earlier than his assault on Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty, Cruz may be seen nonchalantly discussing his plans to shoot up a college.
“My identify’s Nick and I will be the following faculty shooter of 2018. My purpose is at the least 20 individuals with an AR-15,” he says.
Within the two years previous the assault, at the least two studies had been submitted to native police, warning that Cruz was amassing weapons and plotting a mass capturing. A tip had additionally been submitted to the FBI about Cruz’s “gun possession, want to kill individuals, erratic habits, and disturbing social media posts,” because the FBI phrased it.
Cruz was by no means arrested or charged in reference to these threats, nor was he legally prevented from amassing his arsenal.
Lower than a month after the capturing, the Florida legislature handed a complete gun legislation reform, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty Public Security Act. The measure raised the minimal age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21, banned bump shares, and arrange a “red-flag” legislation, by way of which courts can prohibit individuals from possessing firearms if they’ve made violent threats or are affected by important psychological sickness.
A wave of gun legislation reform was handed in different states as properly in response to the capturing and scholar protests that came about throughout the nation.
Cruz’s formal sentencing is scheduled for November 1.
Amongst U.S. states, Florida has the fourth highest variety of executions since June 29, 1972, when the U.S. Supreme Court docket prompted an overhaul of capital punishment legislation nationwide below Furman v. Georgia. Florida has executed 99 individuals since then. (Texas has the best variety of executions by far, having put greater than 570 prisoners to loss of life within the final 50 years.)
The final particular person to have been executed in Florida was Gary Ray Bowles, who went on a killing spree in 1994, murdering six victims over a months-long interval. He was put to loss of life by deadly injection in August 2019.