HomeCoverINTERNATIONALNikolas Cruz sentencing: Jury choice begins as we speak for panel that'll...

Nikolas Cruz sentencing: Jury choice begins as we speak for panel that’ll assist resolve if Parkland college shooter will get the dying penalty

Following Cruz’s responsible pleas, the 12-member jury now being impaneled for the penalty section might be requested to resolve whether or not to advocate his execution. Six to eight alternates are also on account of be picked, the choose stated final week throughout a listening to.

“There have been 17 individuals killed, so there’s a story of the dying of 17 individuals,” Assistant State Legal professional Jeff Marcus informed the court docket in explaining why the penalty section may final into the autumn. “After which there are 17 extra which are thought-about aggravating components within the case.”

Jurors must agree unanimously that at the very least one aggravating issue — together with the concurrent capital felony prices to which Cruz pleaded responsible, or whether or not he knowingly created the chance of different deaths — exists among the many 34 prices to then start to debate whether or not he ought to face the dying penalty.

If that occurs, they should be unanimous in recommending a dying sentence, in any other case his sentence would essentially be life in jail. In the event that they do advocate capital punishment, the ultimate determination nonetheless rests with the choose.

Cruz confessed to police quickly after the capturing, in accordance with a possible trigger affidavit, however then pleaded not responsible. His attorneys later stated he’d change his pleas to responsible if prosecutors took the dying penalty off the desk, however they by no means did. All the identical, he switched his place to responsible on all 34 counts, setting the stage for the penalty section.

14 college students and three school members had been slain

On the afternoon of February 14, 2018, then-19-year-old Cruz, who had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, took an Uber to his former highschool, in accordance with an overview of occasions that prosecutor Michael Satz recited October 20 through the listening to at which Cruz pleaded responsible. Cruz had with him a rifle bag with an AR-15-style rifle and backpack that held firearm magazines and a tactical vest, Satz stated.

When he arrived, Cruz walked into the highschool’s three-story 1200 constructing, stepped into the east stairwell and began loading the rifle. As he did so, a scholar walked into the stairwell, Satz stated.

Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to murder charges and apologizes for Parkland high school massacre

“You higher get out of right here,” Cruz informed the scholar, per the prosecutor. “One thing dangerous is about to occur.”

At about 2:21 p.m., Cruz opened fireplace within the hallway, Satz stated, capturing at college students and academics in hallways and school rooms as he made his means via the constructing and up via every flooring. At one level, mud shaken from ceiling tiles by the gunfire set off the constructing’s fireplace alarm, sending college students and academics out of the lecture rooms and into the hallways.

Of these killed, 14 had been college students: Alyssa Alhadeff, 14; Martin Duque Anguiano, 14; Nicholas Dworet, 17; Jaime Guttenberg, 14; Luke Hoyer, 15; Cara Loughran, 14; Gina Montalto, 14; Joaquin Oliver, 17; Alaina Petty, 14; Meadow Pollack, 18; Helena Ramsay, 17; Alex Schachter, 14; Carmen Schentrup, 16; and Peter Wang, 14.

Geography instructor Scott Beigel, 35; wrestling coach Chris Hixon, 49; and assistant soccer coach Aaron Feis, 37, had been additionally killed — every whereas operating towards hazard or making an attempt to assist college students to security.

After the capturing, Cruz put down his weapon, the remaining magazines and his tactical vest and fled, mixing in at 2:27 p.m. with different college students, Satz stated. He was arrested that afternoon, about 3 miles from the college.

On the October plea listening to, Cruz responded “responsible” to every of the 34 prices he confronted earlier than addressing the victims and their households in a brief assertion to the court docket.

“I’m very sorry for what I did,” he stated, partially, “and I’ve to stay with it every single day.”

Cruz’s apology, nonetheless, did little to consolation the mother or father of 1 slain scholar, who referred to as it “ridiculous.”

“I believe he deserves as a lot of an opportunity as he gave my daughter and everybody else on February 14 of 2018,” stated Gina Montalto’s father, Tony Montalto, when requested about Cruz going through the dying penalty.

Cruz has already been sentenced to 25 years in jail after he pleaded responsible to attacking a jail guard in November 2018.

Margarita Lasalle, right, and Joellen Berman look on at the memorial in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as teachers and staff return to the school on February 23, 2018, for the first time since the mass shooting.

Hundreds of thousands awarded to victims’ households in civil instances

The capturing’s impacts reached far past Parkland, a small Florida metropolis about 50 miles north of Miami. Within the weeks that adopted, survivors and victims’ kinfolk spoke out and confronted lawmakers, demanding extra motion to deal with gun violence in American faculties.
College students all around the US joined them, staging their very own protests and faculty walkouts. That motion culminated simply over a month after the bloodbath with March for Our Lives as tons of of hundreds of demonstrators attending tons of of marches throughout the nation referred to as for gun management reform. “By no means Once more,” turned the protesters’ rallying cry.
Whereas the complete impact of the motion is difficult to quantify, one 12 months after the bloodbath, at the very least 67 new legal guidelines aimed toward gun security had been enacted in 26 states, the Giffords Regulation Middle to Forestall Gun Violence stated on the time.

However college shootings have continued, with some 130 recorded at US campuses with Ok-12 college students since Parkland, in accordance with CNN’s tally.

Judge says case against former Parkland school resource officer Scot Peterson can go to trial
Nonetheless, the activism impressed by the Parkland capturing has additionally endured. Final month, on the fourth anniversary of the March For Our Lives in Washington, activists from the group spelled out “Ideas and Prayers” on the Nationwide Mall utilizing greater than 1,100 physique baggage, CNN affiliate WJLA reported. Every represented lives the group stated had been misplaced in gun-related deaths since Parkland.
And civil instances introduced by the households of Parkland victims have been resolved. The US Justice Division settled 40 civil instances stemming from the capturing for $127.5 million, it stated in a press release final month, including the settlement “doesn’t quantity to an admission of fault by america.” The FBI acknowledged after the capturing it did not act on a tip about “the potential of (Cruz) conducting a college capturing,” amongst different considerations.
Broward County Public Faculties, the district that features Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College, introduced in December it could pay greater than $26 million to 51 plaintiffs, together with those that had been injured and households of the 17 individuals killed.

“Whereas we acknowledge that no amount of cash could make these households complete, it’s the college board’s hope that this settlement will present our heartfelt dedication to the MSD households, college students, workers and school and your entire Broward County group,” the district’s interim basic counsel stated.

Meantime, Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, a college useful resource officer criticized for failing to confront Cruz through the capturing, has pleaded not responsible to prices stemming from the mass capturing, together with counts of felony little one neglect. A trial is about for September.

CNN’s Denise Royal contributed to this report.

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