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Parkland school shooting latest: Nikolas Cruz death penalty sentencing trial hears harrowing survivor accounts of massacre


Parkland school teacher cries in court while recalling shooting massacre

Nikolas Cruz, the man convicted of shooting dead 17 people and injuring 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on 14 February 2018, is facing the penalty phase of the trial for his crimes.

Cruz, a former student at the school, was just 19 when he went on a shooting spree in what proved to be one of the deadliest school massacres in US history. He subsequently surrendered to police and pleaded guilty to 17 charges of first-degree murder and 17 of attempted murder.

Cruz was a member of the school’s air rifle team who had been expelled over his disciplinary record. He had arrived at the school with a legally purchased AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and murdered 14 students and three staff members, injuring 17 more. The shooting sparked a nationwide protest movement demanding tighter gun control measures.

While prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Cruz, his attorneys are hoping for a life term.

WARNING – Graphic content: This blog contains testimony, descriptions, and audio content relating to the Parkland shooting.


Jury reacts to violent videos presented at sentencing trial

More videos from the day of mass shooting at the Parkland, Florida, high school were presented to the trial jury at the sentencing hearing on Tuesday.

The visuals, showing Cruz crouching and stalking, firing at anything that moves, down the halls and into classrooms, was gathered from 13 security cameras inside the school premises.

As the video played out, 12 jurors and 10 alternates stared at the video screens intently, while many held hands to their faces as they watched the 15-minute recording.

This gruesome video was not shown to people and family members of survivors and victims sitting in the gallery, and it carried no sound unlike the audio played on Monday.

Some of the people watching the video were seen visibly squirming and a juror looked at the screen, looked up at Cruz with wide eyes and then returned to watch the video.

Meanwhile, Cruz was seen exchanging occasional whispers with one of his attorneys and did not watch the video.

Attorney’s representing Cruz had objected to playing the video, who had argued that the witness statements of what happened would suffice and that the any evidentiary value the video has is outweighed by the emotions it would raise in the jurors.


Judge assigned to death penalty case at random

Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer was assigned the case of a former Florida student who gunned down 17 people in 2018 despite never having overseen a death penalty trial or one with much publicity.


Missed warning signs, failings, and lessons learned

As the Parkland community braces for the sentencing trial for Nikolas Cruz, the man who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, The Independent’s Rachel Sharp investigates what led up to the massacre and what’s happened since.


Watch: Chris McKenna testifies Nikolas Cruz told him to get out before massacre

Parkland shooting survivor testifies Nikolas Cruz told him to get out before massacre


A timeline of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting

Nikolas Cruz, the man convicted of shooting dead 17 people and injuring 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on 14 February 2018, will face sentencing for his crimes beginning on Monday 18 July.

Cruz – a former student at the institution who had been a member of its air rifle team being being expelled over his disciplinary record – was just 19 when he arrived that day in an Uber bearing a legally-purchased AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and gunned down 14 students and three members of staff in what proved to be one of the deadliest school massacres in American history.

Here’s how events unfolded:


Today in court: Survivors give harrowing testimony on second day of trial

On day two of the sentencing phase in the trial of Nikolas Cruz, who committed one of the worst mass shootings in US history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, teacher and student survivors told the jury of their experiences that day.

Here’s what the court heard on Tuesday.


Survivor tells of lingering side effects of injuries

Parkland survivor Samantha Fuentes testified on Tuesday that her injuries left her with lingering problems after the deadly shooting.

“I don’t have the same range of motion or stamina as I once did when I was more able-bodied,” she told the court.


Parkland victims remembered ahead of shooter’s sentencing trial

Chris Hixon was murdered along with 16 other people in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day 2018. His widow Debbi Hixon tells The Independent’s Rachel Sharp how she hopes the sentencing trial of his killer will finally enable her family to start to grieve.


Parkland school teacher describes shooting

Parkland school teacher Dara Hass cried during her testimony about the events of 14 February 2018, recalling injured students, a frantic call to 911, and a room filling with smoke.


Court adjourns for the day

After a day of harrowing testimony from survivors of the 2018 shooting, several of whom were injured when Cruz opened fire through their classroom doors, the court has adjourned for the day.

The penalty phase of the trial will resume at 9am tomorrow morning.


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