Death penalty trial of Parkland high school shooter begins

by | Jul 18, 2022 | World

The months-long US trial will decide whether Nikolas Cruz will be executed or sentenced to life without parole.Opening arguments have begun in the penalty phase of the trial of Nikolas Cruz, the man who killed 17 people at a Florida high school on February 14, 2018 – one of the deadliest school shootings in United States history.
About 50 family members of the victims were in the courtroom on Monday, sitting together in a roped-off section. It was not clear if anyone, aside from Cruz’s defence lawyers, was there to support him. The trial, which is expected to last about four months, was supposed to begin in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic and legal fights delayed it.
The seven-man, five-woman panel, backed up by 10 alternates, will hear from lead prosecutor Mike Satz, who is expected to highlight Cruz’s brutality as he stalked a three-story classroom building, firing his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle down hallways and into classrooms. Cruz sometimes walked back to wounded victims and killed them with a second volley of shots.
Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty in October to the premeditated murder of 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, about 48km (30 miles) north of the city of Fort Lauderdale.
Nikolas Cruz’s death penalty trial is the deadliest mass shooting case in US history ever to make it before a jury [File: Wilfredo Lee/AP]
An expelled student with a history of mental health and behavioural problems at the time of the shooting, Cruz said in his guilty plea that he was “very sorry” and asked to be given a chance t …

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