Parkland School Shooting: Death penalty trial begins

The penalty trial for Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz begins, as jurors will decide whether the 23-year-old will be executed or sentenced to life without parole for the 2018 massacre of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. A jury heard opening statements and then the first evidence about the 2018 massacre that left 14 students and three staff members dead at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The seven-man, five-woman panel, backed up by 10 alternates, will hear from lead prosecutor Mike Satz, who is expected to highlight Cruz's brutality as he stalked a three-story classroom building, firing his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle down hallways and into classrooms. Cruz sometimes walked back to wounded victims and killed them with a second volley of shots. Cruz pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of first-degree murder; the only thing he is contesting is the death penalty sentence prosecutors are seeking. Jurors can only sentence him to either death or life without the possibility of parole for the Feb. 14, 2018, shootings. The trial for the former Stoneman Douglas student, expected to last about four months, was supposed to begin in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic and legal fights delayed it.

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