Parkland Shooter Avoids Death Penalty, Gets Life in Prison

Florida law requires the jury be unanimous.

  • The jury has rendered a verdict in the Nikolas Cruz death penalty trial, deciding the Parkland school shooter should receive life in prison but not the death penalty.
  • According to Florida law, a death sentence requires a unanimous verdict from the jury.
  • Cruz pleaded guilty last year to 17 charges of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, in the Valentine’s Day 2018 massacre at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
  • Defense attorney Melisa McNeill asked the jury to spare Cruz’s life saying, “What Nikolas Cruz did should make you angry and sad. There is nothing wrong with feeling those feelings.”
  • “By showing you pictures and videos again, the state of Florida wants to put you in a place of hate, anger, and vengeance,” she added. “Giving mercy to Nikolas Cruz will say more about who you are, than it says about him.”
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reacted to the life sentence, saying of Cruz, “You deserve the death penalty.”
  • “I think that if you have a death penalty at all, that that is a case, where you’re massacring those students, with premeditation and utter disregard for humanity, that you deserve the death penalty,” DeSantis said during a press conference. 
  • Similar responses came from the families of the victims: “I’m disgusted with those jurors. I’m disgusted with the system,” said Ilan Alhadeff, whose daughter, Alyssa, died in the shooting. “That you can allow 17 dead and 17 others shot and wounded and not give the death penalty. What do we have the death penalty for?”
  • Security around schools following the Parkland shooting took various turns, as it did after another shooting at an Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas earlier this year.
  • One Florida sheriff, Polk County Florida Sheriff Grady Judd, trained his deputies to unequivocally take out attackers before they entered the school, as American Faith previously reported.
  • Judd informed the media that he wanted would-be shooters to know, “We’ll shoot you graveyard dead.”