Nikolas Cruz was spared the death penalty inside the Parkland, Florida trial, and grieving families reacted

A Florida judge ordered the gunman that fatally murdered and shot 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School near Parkland by Florida Shooter in 2018 to life in prison with no chance of parole. Thursday’s decision comes over four years after the deadliest gun death trial in US memory.

About the trial:

A death sentence can be issued for Nikolas Cruz in Florida only if judges overwhelmingly suggest he be executed. If, at most, one juror decides that aggravating factors of the murders outweigh the mitigating factors presented by the defense, only one other option is life imprisonment.

Seventeen counts of cold-blooded killing by shooting and an estimated 17 attempts to kill to compensate for all those injured during the atrocity. After months of murder delays, the death penalty trial began in July and concluded earlier this month with closing arguments before a secluded jury started deliberation.

The jury’s decision:

The jury convicted that, despite multiple extenuating circumstances in the murder of Nikolas Cruz, those contexts did not exceed mitigating ones – aspects of a gunman’s troubled childhood that the defense said influenced his turn to violence. The jury comes to the point of life in prison without any release.

Several victims’ relatives spoke out directly following the hearing to express their displeasure with both decisions.

Family reaction:

The verdict upset all the family and friends who spoke to the media. The father of 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff was “disgusted” with the choice to propose life in prison for her daughter. Ilan Alhadeff said his father was “very upset with the decision.”

According to Fred Guttenberg, the dad of 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg, the Parkland massacre victim’s parents were deprived of justice.

The decision has shocked the parents of another 15-year-old victim, Peter Wang. “How does this monster survive one more day after murdering 17 people?” Wang’s cousin Lin Chen questioned.

“If not right now, then when?” asked Patricia Oliver, whose child was killed inside the incident.

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