Jury to determine life or death for Parkland school shooter

Share on email
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

Jury selection for the penalty phase of the trial for Nikolas Cruz began this week. Cruz pleaded guilty in October to killing 17 people and wounding 17 others inside Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School in February 2018.

The jury will decide whether to sentence Cruz, who was 19 at the time of the shooting, to life in prison without the possibility of parole or to death. A death verdict will require a unanimous jury. 

Until March 2017, Florida allowed trial judges to impose a death sentence when a jury’s decision wasn’t unanimous, but after the Florida Supreme Court found that practice unconstitutional in 2016, the legislature adopted a new sentencing law in 2017 requiring a unanimous jury recommendation.

Once a jury is seated, the penalty phase is expected to take several months, engendering great expense and prolonging the agony of everyone involved.  

Last month, the Department of Justice announced it had settled all 40 civil cases filed by survivors and families of the victims for $127.5 million. The families’ lawsuit accused the FBI of negligence, saying the agency ignored tips they had received that indicated Cruz had been storing weapons and expressing his intent to shoot up a school prior to the killings.

You might also be interested in...

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine postpones another execution over lethal injection concerns

A little over a week after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced he was staying five state killings planned for this...
Read More

Arizona executes Clarence Dixon despite his mental illness

The state of Arizona killed Clarence Dixon on Wednesday morning, despite his long history of mental health challenges and the...
Read More

Tennessee governor stays five executions planned for this year

Stating that, “The death penalty is an extremely serious matter, and I expect the Tennessee Department of Correction to leave...
Read More