Parkland Mass Shooter Spared From Death Sentence


Photo by Mike Stocker-Pool/Getty Images

A jury in Florida decided on Thursday that Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz should be spared from a death sentence and instead face life in prison without parole.

In 2018, Cruz killed 14 students and three staffers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Prosecutors argued that his crime was premeditated, heinous, and cruel– criteria that must be established to decide whether to impose a death sentence, as per Florida law.

However, the jury could not unanimously agree that Cruz, 24, should be executed given what some jurors believed to be mitigating factors that influenced his killing spree. Cruz’s lead attorney argued that his birth mother’s heavy drinking left him with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder for which he was not properly treated.

The mother of one of the victims spoke up about Thursday’s outcome. The jury’s decision “just makes the fire inside us even want to fight harder for change,” Lori Alhadeff said. “And know that we have to … work so much harder, because this cannot happen.”

Tony Montalto, a parent whose daughter was shot to death, also disagreed with the decision. “She should not have been extinguished by this monster,” he said after the jury read the verdicts. “Gina deserved better than she got. She deserved better.”

The sentencing hearing for Cruz is scheduled for November 1, 2022.


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