Parkland killer sentenced to life in prison

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Nikolas Cruz, perpetrator of the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, was sentenced on Wednesday to life imprisonment.

Nikolas Cruz, who shot dead 17 people in 2018 at a high school in Parkland, Florida in one of the deadliest mass shootings in US history, has been officially sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. parole Wednesday, November 2.

Last October, a jury rejected the death sentence against the 24-year-old young man, yet strongly requested by the prosecution. The jurors had retained several aggravating circumstances, in particular on the “hateful, atrocious and cruel” character of the 17 murders committed. But at least one juror had felt that they were not enough to offset the mitigating circumstances raised by the defense during the trial, in particular on the difficult childhood and the mental disorders of the killer. However, it would have required unanimity on this point for the death penalty to be adopted. A decision that provoked strong criticism from the parents of victims.

Three months of hearings

On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz, then 17, caused fear by opening fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, from which he had been expelled a year earlier. In less than ten minutes, he had killed 14 students and three adults, and injured 17 others.

In October 2021, he pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder. His trial was therefore aimed solely at determining the appropriate sentence.

During three months of heartbreaking hearings, the prosecution plunged the jurors back into horror, by broadcasting numerous videos and taking them to the scene of the tragedy. She also insisted on the premeditated nature of the bloodbath, relying on a video recorded by Nikolas Cruz before the action. “Let my massacre begin today. Let all the frightened children run to hide,” he said.

He was born with fetal alcohol syndrome to a homeless alcoholic and drug-addicted mother, and then grew up in an abusive home with a depressed adoptive mother, his lawyer has repeatedly pointed out, asking the sworn not to give in to the thirst for “revenge”.

The Parkland attack shocked American public opinion and sparked a national anti-gun protest movement of historic proportions.

With AFP and Reuters

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