Why the Parkland School Shooter Avoided the Death Penalty After Killing 17

Parkland FL School Shooter Cruz Avoids Death Penalty, Gets Life In Prison
YouTube Screen Shot-News4JAX 2/14/22

The jury in the school shooting trial of Nikolas Cruz on Wednesday recommended life in prison for the Broward County, Florida man.

Cruz avoided the death penalty after the jury could not come to the unanimous agreement needed to recommend the ultimate punishment.

Cruz pleaded guilty in 2021 to entering Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, when he roamed the hallways and classrooms armed with a rifle, eventually killing 14 students and three staff members.

The verdict stunned family and friends of the victims.

Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter was killed in the shooting said, “This should have been the death penalty 100 percent. I am so beyond disappointed and frustrated by this outcome.”

Another parent who lost a child, Ryan Petty, was overheard expressing his view that the jurors didn’t understand the case.

Cruz’s mental health appears to have played a big part in the jury’s decision on whether to recommend life in prison or the death penalty, and played a role in the defense’s arguments.

During deliberation, the jury asked to have testimony from two doctors read back to them about Cruz’s mental health, including the claim that he suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome.

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Actions (Or Inaction) Of Law Enforcement

In addition to the horrific fact that as students and staff lay wounded, Nikolas Cruz was able to come back and shoot some of them a second time, was the inaction of law enforcement.

Deputy Scot Peterson was the school resource officer at the high school that day. After Nikolas Cruz entered the building, Peterson did not enter the school after him. Instead, he remained outside.

Supervising officer Sgt. Brian Miller was also on campus. He claimed that when he arrived, he heard three or four gunshots but believed they were coming from outside the school.

Miller stayed behind his car and put on a bullet-proof vest, and made no radio contact to direct other law enforcement until five minutes after arriving. 

One of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first acts as governor was to fire Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for neglect of duty and “incompetence.”


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Gun Control In 2022

Unfortunately, more school shootings have occurred since Parkland. Every time it occurs, the debate over gun laws reappears, and the Second Amendment rights of Americans are put in jeopardy.

After the Uvalde Texas shooting in May, President Joe Biden passed gun control legislation that incentivized states to pass so-called “red flag” laws that would give permission for the government to confiscate weapons from people “deemed” a threat to themselves or others without constitutional due process protections.

It also expands a law that prevents those convicted of domestic violence from owning firearms, and requires more background checks for those age 18-21.

But 2022 is also an election year, and a recent Harvard CAPS/ Harris poll shows guns as number six on Americans’ list of important issues.

Sentencing for Nikolas Cruz by Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer is slated for November 1. Victim impact statements will also be read.

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