Parkland Shooter Sentenced to Life Without Parole

The jury could not reach a unanimous decision on the death penalty.

The jury could not reach a unanimous decision on the death penalty.

In 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida was the site of a mass shooting where 17 individuals, including both students and staff, lost their lives. Since that event, the perpetrator, Nikolas Cruz, has been in custody, and in the last few months, his sentencing trial has been ongoing.

This week, after a lengthy period of deliberation, the jury for the case finally reached a verdict. For his crimes, all of which Cruz has pled guilty to, he will spend life in prison without parole. The primary debate was whether Cruz would be jailed for life or receive the death penalty, but as the jury could not reach a unanimous decision on the death penalty, his punishment defaulted to imprisonment.

Following the verdict, the families of those who were killed were given the chance to address Cruz directly, at which time they unloaded years worth of grief and rage.

“A person has to be incredibly sick to want to hurt another human being. Even sicker to dwell on the desire and craft a plan and unimaginably evil to execute that plan, which didn’t just hurt people but ended lives,” Meghan Petty, sister to one of the victims, said. “To add insult to murder he was even arrogant enough to plan a disguise believing that he’d be able to escape his actions while my sister lay dying on a dirty classroom floor.”

“The idea that you, a cold-blooded killer, can actually live each day, eat your meals and put your head down at night seems completely unjust,” said teacher Stacey Lippel, who was wounded in the shooting. “The only comfort I have is that your life in prison will be filled with horror and fear, so my hope for you is that you die, sooner rather than later.”

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