FORT LAUDERDALE — A judge will formally sentence the Parkland school shooter to life in prison without parole at the conclusion of Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.
The two-day hearing, which began Tuesday, Emotional testimony and tense confrontation It brings to mind the trial of about three months that preceded it. In October, more than four years after Nicholas Cruz killed 17 people and injured 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a jury voted to save Nicholas Cruz’s life.
The jury determined that aggravating factors, such as Cruz’s coldness and calculated behavior, were sufficient to justify a possible death penalty, but at least one suspected circumstances such as Cruz’s psychotic predicament. We believed that we outweighed them by alleviating the
Their decision was met with dismay and disgust by the victims’ families. The last of them are expected to speak Wednesday before circuit judge Elizabeth Scherrer delivers her verdict.
See below for live updates on Wednesday, November 1st.
Nicolas Cruz Trial:Key Moments, What You Need to Know About Parkland Shooter Trials
April Schentrap, whose daughter Carmen died on the classroom floor, said in a statement read aloud by a friend in court that convicted mass shootings should be automatically punishable by death. Stated. She called on legislators to make it easier for judges to make decisions.
Carmen deserved better than what the jury gave her, she said.
Despite having stage fright, Schentorp said she missed her daughter’s silly jokes, her eagerness to follow in her brother’s footsteps, and her command of the crowd when she played the violin. She misses karaoke at her house, her hugs before bedtime, her fake British accent, and even rolling her eyes.
The woman who had been reading Schentrup’s affidavit began to return to her seat, but the prosecutor reminded her of the part she had forgotten to read. Thanks to the Assistant State Attorney who prosecuted Cruz and a rebuke to the jury that saved his life. .
Then Joaquin Oliver’s girlfriend Victoria Gonzalez took the podium. She and the gunman had a class together, she said, in 2017. Gonzalez remembers holding her breath every time her teacher stopped by Cruz’s desk to pick up her homework. increase.
She was rooting for him, she said, crossing her fingers on her lap every day and wishing he had done his job.
“You didn’t know me. I was rooting for you,” Gonzalez told him Wednesday. I could feel it.”
She saw Joaquin every day after that class, Gonzalez said.
Now Joaquin is gone, said Gonzalez. She once said that society was to blame for creating his hatred, but her feelings have changed since then.
“I’m standing here to say it’s your fault,” Gonzalez said, pinning a pendant with Joaquin’s face on her shirt.
She can’t make friends or have relationships right now because she constantly looks over her shoulder for the next threat. She won’t let anyone see the light in her that Joaquin saw.He loved her and he will be her last.
Joaquin would have loved Cruz, too, Gonzalez added.
“I’m sorry, your heart knows nothing of warmth,” she said. “I would have wanted that for you.”
Samantha Fuentes, a survivor of the shooting and Cruz’s former JROTC classmate, remembers her “little ragged, bloody face” staring back at him as he sprayed bullets through the classroom door window. asked the shooter if She could have sworn they locked eyes.
Cruz stared at her unresponsive from his seat at the defensive table.
Three students committed suicide in the aftermath of the shooting, Fuentes told him. She also wants to die sometimes. If she doesn’t take her own life, she’s always afraid someone else will.
Fuentes, who was a senior at the time of the shooting, said Cruz remembered who he was before the massacre.
“You were an abominable bigotry with an AR-15 and a god complex,” Fuentes said. “You still are, except for the gun.”
She tore apart the image of Cruz created by his lawyer as suffering from mental illness and brain damage. Racism is not a hallmark of mental illness, she said. There is no detailed plan, no detailed manifesto.
When the hand that put him against the world was dealt, Cruz threw a gigantic, deadly-sized tantrum “like a pitiful entitled child,” she said.
“You may have fooled everyone else, but I haven’t,” she said.
The shooter no longer has power, she continued. No future, no forgiveness. He is handcuffed and leaves the court with the memory of her face in mind. She hopes it will make him sick.
Cruz asked for forgiveness when he pleaded guilty to the worst high school shooting in U.S. history.He got none of that Wednesday as the first speaker of the day impaled him in court
The sentiment in their statement was in line with what was made on Tuesday: Annika Dwolet, whose 17-year-old son Nicholas was killed in the shooting, said that what crime, if not Cruz’s, was the death penalty. can justify the She read aloud the names of the 17 people who died.
Alyssa Alhadev’s mother, Lori, said she would have done anything for her daughter. Now to him, she said.
Alyssa’s father, Iran, spoke next.
“You’re just a coward,” he said to the shooter.
Ilan is trying to keep his daughter’s memory alive, but Cruz will “stay in the cage like a living creature,” the father said.
He ended his statement with the demands of the prison guards responsible for supervising Cruz: banning television, the internet, email, education and putting him in a shock collar.
Hannah Phillips is a public safety and criminal justice journalist at The Palm Beach Post.you can contact her email@example.com.
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