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Parkland shooter avoids death penalty as Jury recommends life sentence without parole for Nikolas Cruz, 24, following a holdout after eight hours of deliberations – to the consternation of victims’ families

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On the second day of deliberations in the Nikolas Cruz’s sentencing trial jury reaches verdict of life in prion without possibility of parole for the Parkland shooter

Jury in Florida spared Nikolas Cruz, now 24, from execution and instead recommended a life sentence without parole

The judge is yet to formally sentence him but she cannot overrule the recommendation

Decision has some questioning the existence of the death penalty if it does not apply to depraved killers like Cruz

Victim Chris Hixon’s special needs son Corey, stormed out of the hearing after listening to the verdicts Prosecution were sure they defendant would get the death penalty

Jurors apparently swayed by Cruz’s defense team arguing he is broken, brain-damaged,’ and was doomed in the womb by the heavy drinking by his birth mother during pregnancy   

Decision disgusted families who lost loved ones murdered by Cruz in 2018 at Stoneman Douglas High School, while Florida governor Chris DeSantis was ‘disappointed’ by the verdict

‘Just wonder if he was black would he get the death penalty? – Dave Aronberg (D), Palm Beach State Attorney

Records show Cruz murdered 17 victims and injured 17 others – more than any other death row inmate in Florida’s history  

12 jurors return to courtroom after eight hours of deliberations to seal fate of Nikolas Cruz

Nikolas Cruz, 24, pleaded guilty last year to murdering 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018

As jurors deliberated whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison, they examined the A5-15 he used in the shootings 

Cruz, now 24, pictured in the courtroom on Thursday, is waiting to learn his fate for the 17 murders at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018

After three months of testimony, jurors have reached a verdict on whether to condemn Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz to life in prison for the murders of 17 people in the 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre. The Parkland school shooter was facing possible death penalty after he was found guilty on 17 counts of first-degree murder.
The victims’ families had all asked for him to be put to death, but a single juror refused. 
In Florida, the jury must decide unanimously to sentence someone to death. 
After the juror refused, they persuaded two others into voting for life in prison without the possibility of parole, leaving the final count to 9 in favor of execution and three against. 
Florida’s death penalty law is that a jury must unanimously vote in favor of execution.

Nikolas Cruz seen [left], conferring with his attorney on Thursday, was spared after a single ‘holdout’ juror convinced two others to give the Parkland shooter life behind bars instead of the death penalty
Disappointed: Corey Hixon, whose father Chris was killed in the slaying, storms out of the hearing after listening to the verdicts 
Heartbroken family members of the victims killed by Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz cried as they listened to a jury recommend that he be sentenced to life in prison

Dave Aronberg, the Democratic Palm Beach State Attorney, asked afterwards: ‘It’s rare to get a death penalty verdict in South Florida. 
‘I respect the jury’s decision in the Nikolas Cruz case, but if the death penalty doesn’t apply to the slaughter of 17 innocents, nearly all children, then when?’ 
‘I don’t believe in the death penalty, but if this crime doesn’t deserve it, what crime does?
‘Just wonder if he was black would he get the death penalty?
‘The death penalty should be abolished,’ said one person. 
‘If someone as guilty as Cruz avoids the death penalty, then outright abolish it completely. 
‘Makes zero sense to have it still if cases that clear cut don’t receive the penalty,’ quipped another. 

Stunned disbelief of bereaved families as Parkland jury reaches decision in Nikolas Cruz death penalty trial – Ending instead with recommendation of life without parole

Corey Hixon storms out of court on Thursday after his dad’s killer was spared the death penalty by a Florida jury

Jury decision to hand Nikolas Cruz to Prison without Parole instead death penalty sparks furious backlash

Cruz, now 24, pled guilty last year to the murders of 14 students and three staff members at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.
After the shooting authorities reported that at least 17 people were killed at the school while another 17 were injured in the shooting. 
During their six hours of deliberation on Wednesday, jurors first asked for a readback of two testimonies and then just before court adjourned for the day, requested to see the AR-15 that Cruz used in the shootings. 
There was objection from the Broward Sheriff’s Office on providing the jury with the gun, for ‘security reasons,’ but just before day two of deliberations began on Thursday, it was decided the gun would be shown without the firing pen. 
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Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz indicted on 17 counts of premeditated murder in Parkland massacre on Valentine’s Day Grand jury in Broward County, Fla., indicted […]
Nikolas Cruz, avoided a death sentence but will spend the rest of his natural life behind bars. He was caught on cctv footage inside the school in 2018 when he carried out his rampage, killing 17 and injuring 17 other people
In July during witness testimony, Assistant State Attorney Mike Satz showed the jury and the court the AR-15, which was purchased legally in 2017, that was used in the tragic massacre. On the second day of deliberations, jurors again asked to view the AR-15 he used in the shootings

The gun, which Cruz purchased legally in 2017, was previously shown to the jury during witness testimony back in July. 
Broward sheriff’s Sgt. Gloria Crespo previously testified that Cruz, then 19, had five gun magazines remaining in the vest, containing 160 total bullets. He had fired more than 100 shots as he stalked the three-story building for seven minutes, firing down hallways and into classrooms.
The jurors also were shown photos Crespo took of the bodies of five students and a teacher who died on the third-floor, all with multiple wounds from being shot at close range.
Jurors deliberated for about six hours Wednesday, including asking to have read back to them the prosecution’s cross-examination of a defense psychologist who says Cruz suffers from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Sgt. Gloria Crespo previously testified that Cruz, then 19, had five gun magazines remaining in the vest, containing 160 total bullets. He had fired more than 100 shots as he stalked the three-story building for seven minutes, firing down hallways and into classrooms at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018

At the end of the day, they requested to once again view the AR-15. 
Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer said Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies told her they couldn’t provide it to the jury for ‘security reasons,’ so this was ‘above’ her ‘pay grade,’ and she was going to stay on her lane.
Lead prosecutor Michael Satz objected, saying he had seen this done in many previous cases, even calling the situation ‘ridiculous’ and ‘preposterous.’ 
It was decided early Thursday that the jury would be shown the weapon without the firing pen. 
Cruz’s massacre is the deadliest mass shooting that has ever gone to trial in the U.S. Nine other people in the U.S. who fatally shot at least 17 people died during or immediately after their attacks by suicide or police gunfire.
The jurors are being sequestered during their deliberations, which could take hours or days. They have been told to pack for at least two nights.

Along with his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, Cruz abandoned at least six magazines that each contained 30 bullets at the scene of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Jurors at Cruz’s multiple murder trial are shown the AR-15 style rifle used by the Parkland shooter
This surveillance footage viewed by jurors shows Cruz inside the school in 2018. Jurors retraced the killer’s path on as he methodically moved from floor to floor stalking his targets and firing down hallways and into classrooms. Cruz shot some of the injured victims point blank multiple times as he chanced upon their hide places
Survivors are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the shooting on Feb 14, 2018. Many ended up experiencing PTSD and a few took their own lives in the aftermath

Closing arguments from both sides concluded earlier this week with the prosecution – which is calling for the death penalty – portraying Cruz as a calculating and brutal murderer. Meanwhile, Cruz’s defense attorney pleaded for mercy and the only other option – life in prison.
Cruz, by his own admission, said he began thinking about committing a school shooting while in middle school, about five years before he carried out the Valentine’s Day tragedy. He said he picked Valentine’s Day to make sure it would never be celebrated at the school again.
Almost exactly a year before the rampage, he purchased his AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and his planning became serious about seven months in advance as he researched previous mass shooters, saying he tried to learn from their experience.
During closing arguments on Tuesday, attorneys for both sides wrapped up three months of testimony in one last push for either a death sentence or life in prison.
The prosecution and defense that his 2018 attack that killed 17 people was horrible, but disagreed in their closing arguments on whether it was an act of evil worthy of execution or one of a broken person who should be imprisoned for life.

Jury visits site of Parkland shooting in Florida

Lead prosecutor Mike Satz and his defense counterpart, Melisa McNeill, painted for the 12 jurors competing pictures of what drove Cruz’s attack at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day 2018.’
Under Florida law, a jury must be unanimous in its decision to recommend that a judge sentence Cruz to be executed.
The penalty trial began in July and has included testimony from survivors of the shooting as well as cell phone videos in which terrified students cried for help or spoke in hushed whispers as they hid.
The defense called witnesses who testified about Cruz’s mental health disorders resulting from his biological mother’s substance abuse during pregnancy.

Nikolas Cruz, aka The Parkland School Shooter,’ in maroon. is taken into custody an hour later on Wednesday Feb 14, 2018

On February 14, 2018, when then-19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, 17 people were killed, including three teachers. Another 17 were injured. 

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, Scott Beigel, 35, and Martin Duque Anguiano, 14

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14 
Alyssa was a soccer player for Parkland Travel Soccer
Scott Beigel, 35
Biegel was a geography teacher who was killed as he tried to direct students back to his classroom when the shooting broke out
Martin Duque Anguiano, 14
Martin’s brother Miguel wrote on a GoFundMe page for his brother’s funeral expenses: ‘He was a very funny kid, outgoing, and sometimes really quiet’

Nicholas Dworet, 17, Aaron Feis, 37, and Jamie Guttenberg, 14

Nicholas Dworet, 17 
Nicholas was a senior when he was killed. He had already been recruited onto the swim team at the University of Indianapolis 
Aaron Feis, 37 
Assistant football coach Aaron Feis was shot and killed after throwing himself in front of students to protect them from bullets. He died from his gunshot wounds after being rushed to the hospital and undergoing emergency surgery 
Jamie Guttenberg, 14
Jamie’s father confirmed her death in a Facebook post that read: ‘My heart is broken. Yesterday, Jennifer Bloom Guttenberg and I lost our baby girl to a violent shooting at her school…I write this trying to figure out how my family gets through this’

Chris Hixon, 49, Luke Hoyer, 15, and Cara Loughran, 14

Chris Hixon, 49 
Hixon was the school’s athletic director and his wife told CNN that he was ‘an awesome husband, father and American’. Hixon was a Naval reservist and did a tour in Iraq in 2007
Luke Hoyer, 15 
Luke’s cousin told the local news station that he was ‘an amazing individual. Always happy, always smiling. His smile was contagious, and so was his laugh’
Cara Loughran, 14 
Cara was an Irish dancer at a local dance studio, which posted on Facebook: ‘Cara was a beautiful soul and always had a smile on her face’

Gina Montalto, 14, Joaquin Oliver, 17, and Alaina Petty, 14

Gina Montalto, 14 
Gina was a member of the school’s marching band as a winter guard. Her instructor said she ‘was the sweetest soul ever’ 
Joaquin Oliver, 17
Joaquin was born in Venezuela and moved to the US when he was three. He became a natural citizen one year before the shooting 
Alaina Petty, 14
Alaina was part of the school’s junior ROTC program – a leadership program taught by Army veterans

Meadow Pollack, 18, Helena Ramsay, 17, and Alex Schachter, 14

Meadow Pollack, 18
Meadow was a senior and had been accepted to Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, at the time of her death 
Helena Ramsay, 17
Helena was planning to attend college in 2019. Her cousin wrote in a tribute: ‘We miss you dearly and are so incredibly sorry that your life was cut short’
Alex Schachter, 14 
Alex was a member of the high school’s marching band and orchestra where he played baritone and trombone. After his death his family set up a GoFundMe page to act as a scholarship fund in his memory

Peter Wang, 15, and Carmen Schentrup, 16

Carmen Schentrup, 16 
Carmen was a National Merit Scholar semifinalist, which only 10 students had qualified for in 2018  
Peter Wang, 15 
Peter was a member of the school’s junior ROTC program and was reportedly looking forward to the Chinese New Year, which was two days after the massacre 

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