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A jury recommends life in prison for Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz

 A jury recommends life in prison for Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz

A jury recommends life in prison for Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz

The gunman who murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, should get 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 get 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 killings had aggravating circumstances. However, at least one jury came to the conclusion that life in prison was recommended instead of the death punishment since in his case the aggravating elements did not outweigh the mitigating ones for each murder.

It may have been challenging for onlookers to instantly understand the jury's judgment during the hour-long reading of the verdict papers for the 17 murder counts.

The news that Cruz would get a life sentence rather than the death penalty caused a number of individuals in the courtroom, including the family of the victims, to shake their heads in amazement and cry.

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. In 2016, Florida's death penalty was overturned by a judge.

Family members of the victims are upset

After the verdict, victims' families spoke to the media to voice their rage and displeasure.

"I detest the way our justice system operates. The father of the victim Alyssa Alhadeff, Ilan Alhadeff, stated, "I am disappointed with those jurors. "That you can allow 17 people to die and another 17 to be shot and injured without imposing the death sentence. What do we currently have the death penalty for? What is the purpose of it? You set a precedent today.

Cruz committed the murders on February 14th of 2018. He had been dismissed from 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 weapon to shoot 17 additional people in addition to 14 kids and three staff members.

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

Attorneys sought the death penalty.

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 throughout his siege of the school, returning to some of those he had injured to re-shoot and murder them.

"This plot was a methodical massacre," Satz stated. "It was goal-directed, premeditated, and deliberate."

"Jurors listened to kids and instructors who survived the shooting describe the incident during the six-month trial. They watched security footage of Cruz shooting at victims repeatedly in classrooms and corridors and heard horrific evidence from medical examiners "Allen disclosed.

Cruz's attorneys offered expert testimony from therapists and a physician who claim the defendant has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, a disease they said has an impact on his cognition and conduct, in order to lay out their case. His birth mother, Brenda Woodard, was accused by witnesses of abusing cocaine and alcohol when she was pregnant with him.

Melissa McNeil, Cruz's attorney, said in closing arguments, "You now know that Nikolas is a brain-damaged, shattered, mentally ill person, through no fault of his own." In Brenda's pregnancy, "He was practically poisoned."

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