Despite the fact that he killed 17 people during the 2018 mass shooting, the gunman responsible for the
bloodbath at the Parkland, Florida, college shooting will only receive a life sentence.
On Wednesday, as the verdict was read, Nikolas Cruz, 24, who was convicted of the murders of 14 other
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and three employees, appeared pale in the courtroom.
After only six hours of deliberation, jurors returned a verdict recommending life in prison without the
possibility of parole. A proper hearing for the sentence will take place in the coming months.
Due to Florida legislation requiring jurors to unanimously recommend execution, Cruz was spared the
death penalty, leaving only a life sentence on the table.
Reuters initially stated incorrectly that the jury approved the death penalty for Cruz, but the publication
soon corrected its report.
Following a three-month trial in which prosecutors argued that Cruz’s crime was not only merciless and
heinous, but also premeditated, factors that are necessary to determine a death sentence under state
law, the sentencing suggestion was made.
Although Cruz’s legal team acknowledged the seriousness of his offenses, they did ask the jury to
consider possible defenses, such as his alleged lifelong struggles with mental health issues caused by his
mother’s drug use while pregnant.
The courtroom was an emotional scene, with victims families and friends crying as the judge read all 17
names in the order in which Cruz was sentenced to life in prison.
Prosecutors depicted Cruz as a cold and calculated assassin throughout the sentencing trial, which
ended on Tuesday. In the interim, Cruz’s defense attorney asserted that Cruz was only a “damaged,
brain-damaged child” who was a victim of his mother’s drug and alcohol use.
In addition to the AR-15 Cruz used in the shootings, the jury had requested a readback of two
testimonies during the sentencing suggestion on Wednesday.
According to CNN, the Broward Sheriff’s Office opposed presenting the firearm to the jury for “safety
reasons”. However, it was ultimately determined that the firearm could be presented without a firing
Cruz legally purchased the lightweight semi-automatic rifle in 2017, which was previously demonstrated
to jurors during witness testimony in July.
Additionally, images belonging to Broward Sheriff’s Sgt.Gloria Crespo found the dead bodies of five
students and a teacher Cruz had shot at close range and killed on the third floor of the school. Cruz had
shot them all.
The massacre in Parkland, Florida, remains the deadliest mass shooting in American history, with nine
different gunmen killing at least 17 people. Others committed suicide or were killed by police gunfire
during or immediately after the shootings.