The prosecutor started opening arguments on Monday within the penalty section of the trial of the person who killed 17 individuals at a Florida highschool on Valentine’s Day in 2018 by naming every sufferer throughout an in depth recounting of one of many deadliest faculty shootings in U.S. historical past.
Nikolas Cruz pleaded responsible in October to the premeditated homicide of 14 college students and three workers members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty in Parkland, about 30 miles (48 km) north of Fort Lauderdale.
On this penalty section, jurors will decide whether or not he ought to be sentenced to life in jail or obtain the demise penalty. A choice might take a number of months.
“I will converse to you in regards to the unspeakable, about this defendant’s goal-directed deliberate, systematic homicide — mass homicide — of 14 college students, an athletic director, a instructor and a coach,” prosecutor Michael Satz instructed Broward County jurors, saying they’d additionally see video of the crime taken by cameras on the faculty.
Satz named every one that was shot and wounded, whereas primarily referring to Cruz solely as “the defendant.” He stated Cruz had deliberate to be a faculty shooter lengthy earlier than the assault.
The statements included particulars starting from the quite a few instances every sufferer was shot, the model of weapon and the variety of ammunition cartridges Cruz carried, to his go to to a sandwich store the place he bought a beverage after leaving the varsity.
Relations of the victims current in court docket shook their heads, a few of them weeping, as Satz detailed the bloodbath.
Cruz, wearing a gray-and-black sweater and carrying a black masks, was slumped over throughout a lot of Satz’s assertion. He appeared to write down a number of notes on paper and cross them to his lawyer.
Cruz, a 19-year-old expelled scholar with a historical past of psychological well being and behavioral issues on the time of the capturing, stated in his responsible plea he was “very sorry” and requested to be given an opportunity to assist others.
Prosecutors on the Broward State’s Lawyer Workplace in arguing for the demise penalty have famous in court docket paperwork that the capturing involving an AR-15 rifle was “chilly, calculated and premeditated.”
The jury have to be unanimous to suggest that Cruz be executed. If any of the 12 jurors objects, Cruz shall be sentenced to life in jail with out parole.
Broward County Circuit Choose Elizabeth Scherer is presiding over the proceedings, that are being held in Fort Lauderdale.
U.S. gun violence has gotten renewed consideration following latest mass shootings together with one at an Independence Day parade outdoors Chicago that killed seven individuals, and one other in Might at a faculty in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 kids and two academics useless.
President Joe Biden in June signed the primary main federal gun reform in three a long time, which he has celebrated as a uncommon bipartisan settlement.
At a White Home occasion final week to herald the legislation’s passage, Biden was interrupted by Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Oliver shouted “we have already gone via this for years and years” and stated extra must be carried out.
Some youngsters who survived the lethal rampage shaped “March for Our Lives,” a corporation calling for gun management laws equivalent to a ban on assault-style rifles.
Cruz was 18 when he legally bought the rifle from a licensed gun seller.