Death Sentence Prescribed for Man Who Massacred Florida High School in 2018

Photo credits: Amy B. Bennett

On July 18, a prosecutor urged a jury to execute a confessed murderer. In 2018, a mass shooting at a Florida high school left 17 people dead and another 17 injured. The alleged shooter referred to by the prosecutor claimed responsibility for the crime.

The planned killings of 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Fort Lauderdale, were admitted to by Nikolas Cruz (pictured), 23, in October 2021.

On the opening day of the penalty phase of the trial, prosecutor Michael Satz shunned Cruz for committing “goal-directed premeditated, systematic murder — mass murder — of 14 pupils, an athletic director, a teacher, and a coach.”

Satz presented cellphone recordings of horrified students screaming for assistance or speaking in hushed whispers as they hid while playing witnesses, including teens who were in class that day studying Shakespeare and the Holocaust.

There were about 30 relatives of the victims present in court, some of whom sobbed while they observed the proceedings. Cruz sat with his head in his hands and occasionally placed his head on the defense table while recordings were being shown. He donned a black mask and a business casual-styled gray-and-black sweater with a dress shirt underneath it.

At one point, his eyes were slightly widened and focused, yet empty. If any of the 12 jurors disagree with the death penalty, Cruz, who was a 19-year-old pupil serving an expulsion at the moment of the mass killing, would be given a life sentence without the possibility of parole. It might take jury members many months to decide.

Following recent mass shootings that left seven people dead at a Fourth of July holiday parade on the outskirts of Chicago and 19 students, as well as two teachers dead at a school in Uvalde, Texas, attention has once again been focused on gun violence in the United States, Reuters reports.

The most significant federal gun reform in 30 years was given President Joe Biden’s signature in June. He has hailed it as an uncommon example of bipartisanship.