Jurors Ask to See Cruz's Gun

They also requested a readback of fetal alcohol testimony
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2022 6:50 AM CDT
Jurors Ask to See Cruz's Gun
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz sits at the defense table for closing arguments at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022.   (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Jurors tasked with deciding whether Nikolas Cruz lives or dies have asked to see the gun he killed 17 people with. They asked to see the weapon at 5pm Wednesday, toward the end of their first day of deliberations, but Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer said she was unable to send it to the jury room at that time for "security reasons," CNN reports. Prosecutor Mike Satz said it was "ridiculous" that the sheriff's department didn't want to bring the unloaded, inoperable firearm to the jury room. "Judge, I tried I can't tell you how many cases and the gun has always gone back," he said, per CBS. Scherer said the issue would be resolved by the time jurors returned Thursday for a second day of deliberations.

Cruz pleaded guilty a year ago to the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. For him to be sentenced to death instead of life in prison with no possibility of parole, jurors will have to agree unanimously on the death sentence on at least one of the 17 counts of murder. Defense lawyers have argued that jurors should spare Cruz's life because the 24-year-old is a "broken" human being who suffers the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome. Jurors asked Wednesday for a readback of the cross-examination of defense witness Dr. Paul Connor, an expert in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, CNN reports.

Jurors also asked for a readback of testimony from a neuropsychologist who testified for the prosecution, saying he disagrees with the fetal alcohol syndrome diagnosis and believes Cruz may have faked the symptoms. Dr. Robert Denney said somebody who genuinely scored as low on a finger-tapping test as Cruz did would never have been able to pull a trigger 20 times in seven seconds, as Cruz did during the massacre. After hearing Connor's cross-examination again, jurors decided they no longer needed to revisit the Denney testimony. (Read more Nikolas Cruz stories.)

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