Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, is advised to serve life in prison by a jury.

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Nikolas Cruz, the shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, tugs at his shirt collar as he waits for the decision in his case at the Broward County Courthouse on Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Cruz should be given a life sentence, according to the jury. Amy Getty Images Beth Bennett remove caption

switch to caption Amy Getty Images Beth Bennett

Nikolas Cruz, the shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, tugs at his shirt collar as he waits for the decision in his case at the Broward County Courthouse on Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Cruz should be given a life sentence, according to the jury.

Photo credit: Amy Beth Bennett The gunman who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, should receive a life sentence without the chance of parole, according to a jury’s recommendation.

The 24-year-old Nikolas Cruz admitted guilt to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder last year. Now, the jury had to decide whether Cruz would receive a life term in prison or the death penalty.

The 12 jurors must all agree in order to impose the death penalty.

The jury came to the unanimous conclusion that Cruz’s murders had aggravating circumstances. However, at least one juror came to the conclusion that, in his case, the aggravating circumstances did not outweigh the mitigating ones for each murder, and that the death penalty was therefore not warranted, leading to the recommendation of a life sentence.

It may have been challenging for observers to instantly understand the jury’s verdict during the hour-long reading of the verdict sheets for the 17 murder counts.

As it became evident that Cruz would receive a life sentence rather than the death penalty, several spectators in the courtroom, including the relatives of the victims, shook their heads in disgust and sobbed.

Prosecutors urged that Cruz’s victims be permitted to testify about the crime and what they believe should be the proper penalty after the jury’s recommendation. The request was granted by the judge, and it will take place in the next weeks.

Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer, who is presiding over the case, is not permitted to overturn the jury’s verdict. 2016 Florida abolished death sentences by judicial override .

Gena Hoyer is waiting for the decision at the Broward County Courthouse on Thursday while holding a picture of her son Luke, who died in the killings in 2018. Amy AP Photo/Beth Bennett hide caption

switch to caption Amy Beth Bennett/AP

Gena Hoyer is waiting for the decision at the Broward County Courthouse on Thursday while holding a picture of her son Luke, who died in the killings in 2018.

Source: Amy Beth Bennett THE VICTIMS’ FAMILY MEMBERS ARE UPSET After the verdict, victims’ families spoke to the media to voice their rage and frustration.

“I detest the way our justice system operates. I loathe the jury members “Ilan Alhadeff, the victim Alyssa Alhadeff’s father, remarked. “that the death sentence is not necessary if you permit 17 people to die and another 17 to be shot and injured. What is the purpose of the death penalty? What does it accomplish? You created a standard today. You create a precedent that nothing will happen to you for the next mass murder. It’s a life sentence for you. It’s not okay, I’m sorry. We must speak up as a nation and say that is not acceptable!”

“I fervently hope that prison life will be painful for that animal every day. He should also have a brief life, “Added Alhadeff

Cruz committed the murders on February 14th of 2018. He had been kicked out of school and was 19 years old at the time. He entered a school through a side entrance that wasn’t locked, then used an AR-15-style rifle to shoot 17 additional people in addition to 14 kids and three staff members.

On Wednesday, the Law Jury’s deliberations commenced. The jury requested to view the murder weapon that evening. About 15 minutes after the jury members had a chance to inspect the firearm, the jury announced on Thursday morning that it had reached a recommendation for a punishment.

Attorneys desired a death sentence. The death penalty had been advocated by the prosecution. Lead prosecutor Mike Satz explained to the jury during closing arguments on Tuesday how Cruz stalked his victims during his siege of the school, returning to some of those he had wounded to re-shoot and murder them.

“This plot was a methodical massacre,” Satz stated. “It was goal-directed, premeditated, and purposeful.”
Greg Allen of NPR has been reporting the Fort Lauderdale trial.

“Jurors listened to kids and teachers who survived the shooting describe the attack during the six-month trial. They watched security footage of Cruz shooting at victims repeatedly in classrooms and hallways and heard horrific testimony from medical examiners “Allen disclosed.

Cruz’s attorneys laid out their defense by presenting testimony from counselors and a doctor who claim the defendant has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, a disease they said has an impact on his thinking and behavior. His birth mother, Brenda Woodard, was allegedly abusing cocaine and alcohol while she was pregnant with him, according to witnesses.

In closing statements, Melissa McNeil, Cruz’s attorney, said: “You now know that Nikolas is a brain-damaged, shattered, mentally ill person, through no fault of his own.” He was indeed poisoned while Brenda was carrying him.

According to The Associated Press, Cruz’s gun spree is the bloodiest mass shooting case to be tried in the United States. Other shootings that resulted in 17 or more fatalities saw the shooter either slain by authorities or commit suicide. The suspect in the 2019 shooting of 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, is still awaiting trial.

Greg Allen, an NPR correspondent in Miami, contributed to this article.

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