It's a Life Sentence for Nikolas Cruz

Without parole, as jury spares life of gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2022 11:01 AM CDT
Nikolas Cruz Jury Spares His Life
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz is shown at the defense table during a hearing at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022.   (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Pool)

A Florida jury has spared the life of Nikolas Cruz, the gunman who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, reports the AP. The 12-member panel said Thursday that the 24-year-old should not be executed. As a result, he will get a life sentence without the chance of parole instead, per CNN. The decision came after only seven hours of deliberations, following a three-month trial. The 24-year-old admitted last year that he murdered 14 students and three staff members at the school in Parkland in 2018, but his defense team argued that he should be spared the death penalty because he is a "broken" human who suffered from the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Prosecutors, however, cast doubt on that diagnosis during the sentencing phase of the case. One expert witness testified that if Cruz truly suffered from the syndrome, he wouldn't have had the dexterity needed to fire his AR-15-style weapon as quickly as he did. Jurors reached their decision on Thursday morning after examining the weapon used. A recommendation for death would have required a unanimous decision. Cruz also pleaded guilty to 17 counts of attempted murder in the case, which is the deadliest mass shooting to reach trial in the US. (Read more Nikolas Cruz stories.)

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