High school shooter

Start of the Florida high school shooter’s punishment trial

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Florida high school shooter’s punishment trial has been started.

Opening remarks and the first evidence about the 2018 shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which left 14 students and three staff members dead, will be heard by the jury on Monday as the punishment trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz gets underway.

Florida high school shooter’s Penalty trial

The seven-man, five-woman jury will hear testimony from lead prosecutor Mike Satz, who is anticipated to emphasise Cruz’s cruelty as he stalked a three-story educational facility and fired his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle into classrooms. The jury is supported by ten alternates. Cruz occasionally returned to wounded victims and shot them again, killing them.

Cruz, 23, admitted guilt to 17 charges of first-degree murder in October; the only aspect of the case he is challenging is the prosecution’s demand for the death penalty. The only possible sentences for the shootings on February 14, 2018, are death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. The former Stoneman Douglas student’s trial, which was scheduled to start in 2020 but was delayed by the COVID-19 outbreak and legal disputes, was anticipated to continue for around four months.

When the trial will start or when they will start presenting their case weeks from now, the defence attorneys won’t disclose when they will make their opening remarks. The latter tactic would be uncommon and dangerous since it would give the prosecution final authority before the jury saw gory evidence and heard emotional testimony from gunshot survivors, the parents, and spouses of the victims.

When Cruz’s main attorney Melisa McNeill makes her statement, she’ll probably focus on the fact that Cruz is a young adult with ongoing mental and psychological issues who reportedly experienced abuse and foetal alcohol syndrome. The idea is to calm the jurors’ emotions as they hear the prosecution’s case, preparing them to be more receptive to the defense’s points of contention later on.

The Parkland shooting is the deadliest in American history to go to trial. Nine more shooters who contributed to at least 17 fatalities perished during or right after their attacks, either by suicide or police gunfire. The suspect in the 2019 murders of 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, is in court right now.

After the allotted 90 minutes for opening statements, the first witness for the prosecution will be summoned. Who will be that has not been disclosed.

This fall, when the jury finally hears the case, it will vote on whether to recommend the death penalty 17 times—once for each of the victims.

Every vote must be unanimous; if any victim receives a non-unanimous vote, Cruz would receive a life term in jail. The prosecution’s aggravating circumstances for the victim in question must, in the jurors’ opinion, “outweigh” the defense’s mitigating circumstances in order for them to recommend the death penalty.

Any juror may decide in favour of life in prison out of mercy regardless of the facts. The panel members testified under oath that they are capable of voting for either penalty during jury selection.

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