Wife of victim speaks out ahead of Parkland shooter’s penalty phase

Author: TIFFANY RIZZO / WINK NEWS Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Debbi and Chris Hixon
Credit: WINK News

On Wednesday, we will learn whether the state will accept Nikolas Cruz’s guilty plea for a school shooting in Parkland. Cruz’s lawyers said last week that he would be pleading guilty to 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree and 17 counts of first degree attempted murder.

One of the victims of the 2018 mass shooting was Chris Hixon. Hixon died trying to stop Cruz from killing more people. WINK News spoke to Hixon’s wife about what the next phase of this case means to her.

17 people died on February 14, 2018, during a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 17 more people were injured and survived.

Debbi Hixon’s husband was one of the people who died. She won’t say the shooter’s name and doesn’t want to see his face but she wants him to face death as well.

Debbi is Chris Hixon’s wife and is a member of the Broward County School Board. “This is an evil human being that just needs to go to hell,” Hixon said.

Her husband died while he was trying to disarm the shooter. Now, more than three and a half years later, the gunman has yet to stand trial.

Debbi says it’s still hard for her to move forward. “There’s steps in grief and anger is the first one. And I don’t think many of us have been able to move too far past that. Because there’s been no justice,” she said.

Since his arrest, Cruz, the confessed killer, has wanted to plead guilty in exchange for life in prison. The prosecution has said no every single time. So now, he plans to plead guilty once again.

This will set up a penalty phase where a jury will hear testimony and make a recommendation of life in prison or offering the death penalty.

Kyle Jeter was teaching at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when those shots rang out. “I kind of look at things like what do the families want and I read that families are in favor of the death penalty so that works for me,” Jeter said.

“Our community has lost enough from this person. And I just don’t think that we should be continuing to provide any other resources for this evil human being,” said Hixon.

Hixon says she will be present in the courtroom when the judge decides the fate of her husband’s killer.

On Friday, Cruz entered a guilty plea related to an assault on a prison guard in 2018.

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