Parkland School Shooter Nikolas Cruz Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz is shown at the defense table just before his defense team announced their intention to rest their case during the penalty phase of Cruz’s trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. Cruz previously plead guilty to all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Pool)

A jury has recommended that the shooter who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Nikolas Cruz, 24, pleaded guilty last year to 17 charges of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. The question facing jurors now was whether Cruz would spend the rest of his life in prison or be sentenced to death.

Unanimity among the 12 jurors is required to impose the death penalty.

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The jury unanimously found that there had been aggravating factors in the murders Cruz committed. But at least one juror concluded that for each murder, the aggravating factors did not outweigh mitigating circumstances in his case, and thus the death penalty is not merited — resulting in the recommendation of a life sentence.

In the reading of the verdict sheets for the 17 counts of murder that stretched about an hour, it could be difficult for observers to discern immediately what the jury had decided.

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SOURCE: NPR, Laurel Wamsley

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