Florida’s Broward Circuit Judge formally sentenced Nikolas Cruz to life in-prison without the possibility of parole for the February 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland after the Florida jury failed to recommend the death penalty, CNN reported.
On Wednesday, Judge Elizabeth Scherer imposed the statutorily mandated sentence, ordering the shooter to serve a life sentence with no possibility of parole for each of the 17 counts of murder to which he had pleaded guilty, with the sentences to run consecutively. Moreover, Scherer imposed a sentence of life in prison with a minimum of 20 years to serve on 14 of the 17 counts of attempted murder.
The decision came after a months-long trial to decide Nikolas Cruz’s fate, CNN reported.
After the judgement, Annika Dworet, the mother of 17-year-old victim Nicholas Dworet, said, “It is heartbreaking how any person who heard and saw all this did not give this killer the worst punishment possible,” adding further “As we all know the worst punishment in the state of Florida is the death penalty. How much worse would the crime have to be to warrant the death penalty?” according to CNN.
“You robbed Alyssa (of) a lifetime of memories,” Lori Alhadeff, the mother of 14-year-old victim Alyssa Alhadeff, said to the gunman. “Alyssa will never graduate from high school. Alyssa will never go to college, and Alyssa will never play soccer. She will never get married and she will never have a baby.”
“My hope for you is that you are miserable for the rest of your pathetic life,” Lori Alhadeff added. “My hope for you is that the pain of what you did to my family burns and traumatizes you every day,” reported CNN
The Parkland shooting accused, now 24, pleaded guilty last October to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the shooting.
14 students were killed in the incident and three school staff members were killed, and several others were injured.
The shooter’s defence attorney defended Cruz and said that he had neurodevelopmental disorders stemming from prenatal alcohol exposure, claiming his birth mother had used drugs and drank alcohol while pregnant with him, CNN reported.
Meanwhile, several school walkouts were cancelled districtwide in Marion County after the shooting.
On February 14, 2018, at least 17 people – children and adults – were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Several people, primarily students across the United States also held a “March for Our Lives” rally pressing for stricter gun control measures after the attack.