Parkland School Shooter's Penalty Trial Begins Monday
{The 17 victims of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman. Douglas. {Photo by Sharon Aron Baron}

By Kevin Deutsch

The final phase of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s sentencing trial is slated to begin Monday and last about four months.

At the end of the trial, jurors will decide whether Cruz, 23, receives the death sentence or life in prison without parole. All of the proceedings will be live-streamed by CBS News Miami.

Cruz fatally shot 17 people and wounded 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day 2018 and pleaded guilty to all counts of murder and attempted murder in October 2021.

The victims killed in the attack were Alyssa Alhadeff, 14; Scott Beigel, 35; Martin Duque, 14; Nicholas Dworet, 17; Aaron Feis, 37; Jaime Guttenberg, 14; Chris Hixon, 49; Luke Hoyer, 15; Cara Loughran, 14; Gina Montalto, 14; Joaquin Oliver, 17; Alaina Petty, 14; Meadow Pollack, 18; Helena Ramsay, 17; Alex Schachter, 14; Carmen Schentrup, 16; and Peter Wang, 15.

Cruz, who had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, took an Uber to the school carrying an AR-15 assault rifle and 11 bullet cartridges in his bags, along with a bulletproof vest.

Once inside, he opened fire in a busy school building, targeting students and staff members.

The murders devastated Parkland and left the United States in mourning.

They also led the Florida Legislature to pass limited gun reform, inspired vocal student activism nationwide, and raised questions about school security in Broward County.

The onslaught of American school shootings has continued, most recently in Uvalde, Texas, where 18-year-old Salvador Ramos used an assault rifle to murder nineteen students and two teachers and wound seventeen other people on May 24 at Robb Elementary School.

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Author Profile

Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.