Nikolas Cruz, Parkland school shooter, sentencing trial begins

Reporter: Marcello Cuadra Writer: Paul Dolan
Nikolas Cruz at sentencing trial facing life in prison or the death penalty. (CREDIT: CBS)

A jury will decide if Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland school shooter, will spend his life behind bars or get the death penalty with the sentencing trial starting Monday.

The 23-year-old pleaded guilty in October to killing 14 students and 3 staff members on Valentine’s Day in 2018. We’re now hearing about a disturbing video Cruz recorded just days before he conducted a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School.

The 17 victims in the Parkland school shooting. (CREDIT: CBS)

“I’m going to be the next school shooter of 2018,” Michael Satz said. “My goal is at least 20 people with a AR15 and some trace arounds.” Satz is a Prosecutor for the State of Florida.

Monday, the trial which will decide whether Cruz will spend the rest of his life behind bars or face the death penalty began with the opening statements from prosecutors. And they wasted no time describing confessed Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, as a cold-blooded killer.

“Cold, calculated, manipulative and deadly,” Satz said.

Nikolas Cruz at his sentencing trial. (CREDIT: CBS)

Experts like Maria Schneider, former Assistant State Attorney of Browrd County, are weighing in. “Not only did this young man plan it and think about it and act it out in a manner that is consistent with someone who’s planned it and thought about it, but he actually posted two videos on social media describing exactly what he was going to do,” Schneider said.

Cruz’s defense is now fighting for his life.

Nikolas Cruz at his sentencing hearing. (CREDIT: CBS)

“They are trying to focus on any sort of mental condition that he had, short of him rendering him insane,” Schneider said.

The prosecution brought two people to the stand Monday to share their testimony including a student, who was a junior at the school at the time of the shooting, and a teacher. The teacher was visibly emotional and she heard the 911 call she made to the police that day.

A teacher visibly emotional hearing her 911 call on the day of the shooting. (CREDIT: CBS)

“You’ll see the evidence will show that there was great risk, obviously, of death to many people,” Satz said. “That the murders, all 17 were heinous, atrocious, and cruel. All 17 were cold, calculated, and premeditated.”

Only one juror has to decide on life in prison to spare Cruz from the death penalty.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.