Jury deliberates on sentencing: Will the Parkland shooter receive the death penalty?
A Florida jury is deliberating on the Parkland shooter’s sentence now. Is he a candidate for the death penalty?
Last year, Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty to the murder of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. According to the BBC, Cruz’s lawyers had said that he would plead guilty if the prosecution wouldn’t consider the death penalty. But as the BBC reported, “The offer had been rejected by prosecutors, who in earlier court documents said they would seek his execution and prove that the crime ‘was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.’”
Now, one year later, a Florida jury deliberates on whether or not Cruz should qualify for the death penalty.
Reuters reported that these jury deliberations would be sequestered and jurors were advised to bring “a few days” of clothing and any medications they would need. According to Reuters, during the closing arguments, the prosecution included “testimony from survivors of the shooting as well as cellphone videos in which terrified students cried for help or spoke in hushed whispers as they hid.”
The prosecution needed to show that Cruz’s actions were heinous enough to warrant the death penalty per Florida law. According to PBS, the prosecution also showed Cruz’s own writings about the massacre, including how he wrote beforehand that he would show “no mercy.” PBS indicated that the defense argued with the prosecution and claimed that Cruz had fetal alcohol spectrum disorder along with alleging that he experienced sexual abuse.
Now, a Florida jury will decide if the Parkland shooter will spend his life in prison or be executed. In order for the state of Florida to perform the execution, a jury will have to unanimously vote for the death penalty.