Parkland school killer Cruz sentenced to life in prison

By Terry Spencer | Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz was officially sentenced to life without parole on Wednesday after families of his 17 slain victims spent two days calling him an evil, cowardly, monster and subhuman .

Cruz, bound and in a red prison jumpsuit, watched Judge Elizabeth Scherer but showed no emotion as she asked him about the Feb. 14, 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in suburban Fort Lauderdale and another of 17 consecutive sentenced to life imprisonment 17 terms for the attempted murders of those he wounded.

Scherer had no choice; The jury in Cruz’s three-month trial on October 13 voted 9-3 in favor of his death penalty, but Florida law requires unanimity for that sentence to be passed.

The conviction came after parents, wives, siblings and others of the killed victims and some of the surviving wounded spent two days going to a 6-foot lectern to address him face-to-face. The judge commended the families and wounded who testified, calling them strong, graceful and patient.

“I know you’re going to be fine because you have each other,” Scherer said.

The judge’s voice cracked as she read the first of the 34 life sentences, but her voice gained strength and volume as she moved down the list. Some parents and other family members cried as she read.

Families and the wounded spent two days verbally beating Cruz, wishing him a painful death in prison and lamenting that he could not be sentenced to death.

“Real justice would be achieved if every family here got a bullet and your AR-15 and we had to pick straws and each of us had to shoot you one at a time to make sure you felt all of it, and your fear continued to mount.” until the last family member who drew the last straw had the privilege of making sure they killed you,” said Linda Beigel Schulman, mother of teacher Scott Beigel. “This is true justice for you.”

Beigel Schulman said she finds it comforting to know that Cruz will be sent to a maximum security prison where he will have constant fears for his safety for the rest of his life.

“From what I’ve heard, child killers are very frowned upon and hated in prison,” Beigel Schulman told Cruz. “I salute the day I will be told you were tortured and brought out for your cold-blooded, premeditated, calculated, heinous murders because you deserve no less.”

David Alhadeff, Alyssa Alhadeff’s uncle, told Cruz via Zoom from his Maryland classroom that he “deserves an opportunity to rot.”

“You deserve the opportunity to absorb the look of terror on your face as soon as you leave this courtroom,” Alhadeff said. “You deserve the opportunity to know that justice will eventually prevail, causing you great agony minute after minute, day after day.”

Associated Press writers Freida Frisaro and David Fischer in Miami contributed to this report. Parkland school killer Cruz sentenced to life in prison

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