Nikolas Cruz killed 14 students and three teachers at a Florida school on Valentine’s Day 2018. Later, he pleaded guilty to 17 murders and 17 attempted murders.
Four years after Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Fla., and began firing indiscriminately without warning, a jury consisting of seven women, five men, and five jurors recommended Cruz spend his entire life in prison.
Three months were required for the sentencing trial. On 15 of 17 counts, the jurors voted in favor of a life sentence. The final decision will be made by Judge Elizabeth Scherer on November 1.
Judge Scherer stated that although Cruz’s crimes were sufficient to warrant the death penalty, jurors in many cases decided that there were “mitigating circumstances”, and so the sentence was imposed on Cruz.
The defense lawyers for Cruz argued that leniency should be granted due to the fact Cruz’s mother was an alcoholic and crack-addicted prostitute, and that Cruz’s brain damage from early childhood was a result of her substance abuse. Cruz was adopted as an infant by a couple that provided him with a safe home.
Cruz was captured in jail by a psychiatrist and Jailhouse recordings showed that he fantasized about mass shootings for many years before embarking on his murderous rampage.
Journalists and reporters visited the area of the school where the shooting occurred, which was preserved as a crime scene. Valentine’s Day teddy bears litter the floor. Chalkboards still display class lessons. There are still pools of blood where students were killed. You can still see bullet holes.
Six bullets are found in a window in a teacher’s lounge. A poster with the words “Typical or troubled?” is located next to the bullets. Notice: Pay attention to any troubling signs that you see in students. Talk to the student. Talk: Make observations with the school mental health staff. Change the course of a person’s life.
Cruz declined to tour the school.
Cruz said to a psychiatrist that Valentine’s Day was the reason he chose his murderous shooting spree. “Because no one would love him,” he explained. “I didn’t like Valentine’s Day, and I wanted it to be ruined for everyone.”
Cruz testified that Cruz studied Columbine and Virginia Tech school shootings before he planned his atrocities.
Jurors were told by former students who survived the shootings that Cruz circled back in his six-minute shooting spree to kill children he had injured.
Judge Scherer could sentence Cruz to death on November 1.