Monday, 28 Nov 2022

Parkland shooter gets life in prison for deadliest US high school massacre

Parkland shooter gets life in prison for deadliest US high school massacre


Parkland shooter gets life in prison for deadliest US high school massacre

The sentence of life without parole, now a formality, will be imposed at a hearing on 1 November after victim impact statements are given, circuit court judge Elizabeth Scherer ruled. Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty.

Prosecutors had argued that Cruz, who had signaled his desire to become a school shooter in videos and drawings he made before the attack, had meticulously plotted the killings.

But in each case at least one juror found that the aggravating factors were outweighed by the mitigation offered by the defense. For a death penalty sentence, jurors would have had to be unanimous.

Family members of the victims, whose ages ranged from 13 to 49, attended the sometimes contentious trial daily, and were in court to hear the verdict of the jury, which began its deliberations on Wednesday afternoon.

Cruz, in a multicolored sweatshirt and gray pants, sat mostly expressionless through the hour-long hearing, occasionally removing his large-frame spectacles, and looking up once at a cry from the public gallery.

He pleaded guilty a year ago to 17 counts of murder, leaving the jury to decide only between a sentence of life imprisonment or the death penalty.

The shooting prompted student survivors to found the March for Our Lives gun safety advocacy group, and led to changes in Florida gun laws, including raising the minimum wage for firearms purchases to 21.

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