The jury has just come back with a decision regarding Nikolas Cruz, who murdered 17 people at a Parkland high school in a mass shooting in 2018. The shooting is the deadliest school shooting in Florida history.
After serious deliberation, Cruz will spend the rest of his life in prison as the jury rejected the death penalty.
Nikolas Cruz’s Life Sentence Angers Victim’s Families
The jury’s decision stunned the relatives of the victims, leaving them upset and angry. Family members of the 14 students and three educators who were murdered during the February 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, were inside the courtroom when the judge read a lengthy verdict for nearly one hour.
Dr. Ilan Alhadeff, whose daughter Alyssa died in the mass shooting, was one of the members inside the courtroom. As the judge read the verdict allowed, he appeared to curse under his breath. His wife, Lori, was also present during the verdict and was seen burying her face in her hand.
“This should have been the death penalty 100 percent,” Lori Alhadeff told reporters after the verdict. “I am so beyond disappointed and frustrated by this outcome.”
Dr. Ilan Alhadeff also spoke out, saying he was “disgusted” with the legal system and with the jurors for this decision. “The jurors let us down,” he said.
Another family member, Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was killed in the school shooting, also spoke out after the verdict, saying, “I’m not often stunned, but I am stunned by this verdict today. I could not be more disappointed,” he said.
He continued, “I don’t know how this jury came to the conclusions that they did.”
“There are 17 victims that did not receive justice today,” Guttenberg explained. “This jury failed our families today. But I will tell you: The monster is gonna go to prison, and in prison, I hope and pray, he receives the kind of mercy from prisoners that he showed to my daughter and the 16 others. … He will die in prison, and I will be waiting to read that news on that.”
Why Did The Jury Sentence Nikolas Cruz to Life?
The judge read the jury’s decision inside the courtroom on Thursday, October 13, which stated that Cruz’s troubled life was enough to spare him the death penalty by the state of Florida. The verdict came after many witnesses took the stand, explaining Cruz’s behavior leading up to, and during the shooting.
According to one doctor’s testimony, Nikolas Cruz “used several motor tasks when he killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School but he scored extremely low on certain tests.” The expert had trouble explaining this while on the stand all day Tuesday as it didn’t fit together.
“They don’t fit together for me,” clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Robert Denney said. “The real-world functioning doesn’t match the test result.”
The doctor testified that it was hard to believe Cruz did so poorly on the Finger Tapping Test when he was able to move around, pull the trigger and reload the gun so quickly.
“That’s the kind of score I would expect, potentially from a stroke patient,” Denney said while on the stand. “I would also expect that low score in somebody who has a substantial or severe traumatic brain injury.”
The former MSD student pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder last year.
Cruz sat with his head down in the courtroom, showing no emotion, as the jury’s verdict was read in court.