Parkland shooting trial Nikolas Cruz penalty phase
Tom and Gena Hoyer exit the courtroom as Gena could be heard sobbing following the verdict in the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022. The Hoyers' son, Luke, was killed in the 2018 shootings. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)
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Following his guilty plea for murdering 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a jury today completed the penalty phase of the trial by refusing to sentence him to death, ensuring that Nikolas Cruz will spend the rest of his life in prison.

It’s very tempting to want to see some swift and sure retributive justice applied to irredeemable filth like Cruz. Many will be upset to hear that the cold-blooded killer won’t be put to death by the state of Florida. Some will be outraged that taxpayers will have to foot the bill to keep that piece of human detritus alive for another five, six, or even seven decades.

But giving the government — some of the same kinds of people who utterly bungled the response to the shooting and failed to act that day at in Parkland — the power to end citizens’ lives means crediting them with a degree of judgement and efficiency, and granting them the kind of power that very few public…servants…have demonstrated they’re worthy of wielding.

Assistant public defender Melisa McNeill, seated with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz touches her hands to her head as the last of the 17 verdicts were read in the penalty phase of Cruz’s trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Would you want your fate put in the hands of the same kinds of people who deliver the mail, “protect” our environment, respond to health threats, grant us permission to exercise our rights, and enforce our laws? After what we’ve learned and seen and lived through over the past few years?

Here is the AP’s story by Terry Spencer . . .

A jury spared Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz from the death penalty Thursday for killing 17 people at a Parkland high school in 2018, sending him to prison for the remainder of his life in a decision that left many families of the victims angered, baffled and in tears.

The jury’s decision came after seven hours of deliberations over two days, ending a three-month trial that included graphic videos and photos from the massacre and its aftermath, heart-wrenching testimony from victims’ family members and a tour of the still blood-spattered building.

“We are beyond disappointed with the outcome today,” Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter, Alyssa, was killed, said at a news conference after the jury’s decision was announced.

“This should have been the death penalty, 100%. Seventeen people were brutally murdered on Feb. 14, 2018. I sent my daughter to school and she was shot eight times. I am so beyond disappointed and frustrated with this outcome. I cannot understand. I just don’t understand.”

Under Florida law, a death sentence requires a unanimous vote on at least one count. Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer will formally issue the life sentences Nov. 1. Relatives, along with the students and teachers Cruz wounded, will be given the opportunity to speak at the sentencing hearing.

Ryan Petty comforts Ilan Alhadeff as they await the verdict in the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022. Petty’s daughter, Alaina, and Alhadeff’s daughter, Alyssa, were killed in the 2018 shootings. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Cruz, his hair unkempt, largely sat hunched over and stared at the table as the jury’s recommendations were read. Rumblings grew from the family section — packed with about three dozen parents, spouses and other relatives of the victims — as life sentences were announced. Many shook their heads, looked angry or covered their eyes as the judge spent 50 minutes reading the jury’s decision for each victim. Some parents sobbed as they left court.

The jury found there were aggravating factors to warrant the death penalty for each victim, however, they also found mitigating factors. And the jury could not agree that the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating ones.

Tony Montalto, father of Gina Montalto, said: “How can the mitigating factors make this shooter, who they recognized committed this terrible act — acts, plural — shooting, some victims more than once on a pass, pressing the barrel of his weapon to my daughter’s chest — that doesn’t outweigh that poor little what’s-his-name had a tough upbringing?”

“Our justice system should have been used to punish this shooter to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

Montalto, president of Stand With Parkland, the group that represents most of the families and other relatives, also said the decision would do nothing to deter another person from gunning down multiple people in a school.

Michael Schulman, the stepfather of teacher Scott Beigel, said the decision gives anyone a license to kill, then claim mental illness as a defense. “This animal deserves to die. He hunted all of these people,” Schulman said. “He planned it for months.”

As he spoke to the media, Schulman held up a laptop with an image of Cruz in the school hallway with a gun. “The last thing my son saw was the gunman aiming at him,” he said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis agreed with the families, saying it “stings” that Cruz will not receive the death penalty.

In a case like this, “where you’re massacring those students with premeditation in utter disregard for basic humanity … I just don’t think anything else is appropriate except a capital sentence,” DeSantis said.

Cruz, 24, pleaded guilty a year ago to murdering 14 students and three staff members and wounding 17 others on Feb. 14, 2018. Cruz said he chose Valentine’s Day to make it impossible for Stoneman Douglas students to celebrate the holiday ever again.

The massacre is the deadliest mass shooting that has ever gone to trial in the U.S. Nine other people in the U.S. who fatally shot at least 17 people died during or immediately after their attacks by suicide or police gunfire. The suspect in the 2019 massacre of 23 at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart is awaiting trial.

Lead prosecutor Mike Satz kept his case simple for the seven-man, five-woman jury. He focused on Cruz’s eight months of planning, the seven minutes he stalked the halls of a three-story classroom building, firing 140 shots with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, and his escape.

He played security videos of the shooting and showed gruesome crime scene and autopsy photos. Teachers and students testified about watching others die. He took the jury to the fenced-off building, which remains blood-stained and bullet-pocked.

Cruz’s lead attorney Melisa McNeill and her team never questioned the horror he inflicted, but focused on their belief that his birth mother’s heavy drinking during pregnancy left him with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Their experts said his bizarre, troubling and sometimes violent behavior starting at age 2 was misdiagnosed as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, meaning he never got the proper treatment. That left his widowed adoptive mother overwhelmed, they said.

The defense cut its case short, calling only about 25 of the 80 witnesses they said would testify. They never brought up Cruz’s high school years or called his younger half-brother, Zachary, whom they accused of bullying.

In rebuttal, Satz and his team contended that Cruz did not suffer from fetal alcohol damage but has antisocial personality disorder — in lay terms, he’s a sociopath.

Their witnesses said Cruz faked brain damage during testing and that he was capable of controlling his actions, but chose not to. For example, they pointed to his employment as a cashier at a discount store where he never had any disciplinary issues.

Prosecutors also played numerous video recordings of Cruz discussing the crime with their mental health experts where he talked about his planning and motivation.

The defense alleged on cross-examination that Cruz was sexually molested and raped by a 12-year-old neighbor when he was 9.

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102 COMMENTS

  1. If a perp clearly without any doubt derserves death it’s not going to happen as long as sht for brains sit on a jury. Hopefully a lifer will take him out.

    • This verdict will encourage other coconuts to act. They know they will never fit into any society but a prison environment and a life sentence in no deterrent. If fact, it’s the optimum outcome for them. All they have to do to survive is surrender after their crime. The jurors didn’t do their job.

    • It’s typical. Feckless jurors with no spine, not willing to make the tough calls. So another murderer gets life, when he sentenced his victims to death. So unfair to their memory.

    • Well – since he killed all those people because he couldn’t get a girlfriend, at least he’ll probably be shot into (ass end) in prison.

  2. Cruz’s bum entering prison = (o). Cruz’s bum after a few weeks in prison = (0).
    Most convicts hate child killers and will punish him in their own way for a long time.

    • You watch too much TV my man. He’ll be stuck in with other lifers and will be something of a celebrity. As long as he minds his own business he will have a trouble-free 60 some odd years in prison to think about what he did.

      • That’s not what my first hand experience working in a prison has shown me. Prison in Florida non the less. He’s in a for a pretty rough life I can assure you. Child killers and rapists really do get treated absolutely terrible in prison. My honest guess is he gets beaten and raped a few times then takes his own life if someone else doesn’t do it first.

        • He wont be in general population, he’ll be in administrative segregation 100% guaranteed. He will be in a protected wing with all the other rapists and sex offenders.

          Contrary to what you see on TV, rapists and chomos barely ever get wacked on sight. They almost always punk out and go adseg.

      • Yep. Women will want to marry him, and so will some of his fellow inmates. Many guys worldwide will view him as a role model.

        It’s fair to say craz has no respect for life. Ditto at least one bad joke of a human on the jury.

        A governmental system that can’t secure its borders or kill a guy like cruz is ready to flatline. Sad beyond the telling of it.

    • And spineless Leftist Dan Zimmerman.
      I’ve been around here for 8+ years.
      This is the final straw.
      TTAG being removed from my bookmarks top bar.

      • “ And spineless Leftist Dan Zimmerman.
        I’ve been around here for 8+ years.
        This is the final straw.
        TTAG being removed from my bookmarks top bar.”

        Lol. You must be joking.

      • “ And spineless Leftist Dan Zimmerman.
        I’ve been around here for 8+ years.
        This is the final straw.
        TTAG being removed from my bookmarks top bar.”

        A lot of people share his opinion. Including JW Taylor on the death penalty. Myself included.
        Should he die? Sure. In an older time he would have. But IMO the government shouldn’t be in the business of killing people, or eventually the Democrats will use it against conservatives, because that’s what they do. Any power you give them, they use it against us. If they could use it indiscriminately they would have executed all the Jan 6 prisoners in jail right now.

  3. And as long as you keep giving em “life” instead of “death”, we’ll be reading about em every week!! Stupid!

      • I’d prefer a gibbet. Put him in a nice form fitting metal cage, and hang him up to dehydrate. The birds will pick his bones clean, eventually. Bleeding hearts would have coronaries over “cruel and unusual”, but I would count that a plus.

  4. lol as if this dude won’t end up getting the Dahmer treatment in prison. Good riddance. Let THAT be a lesson to those understandably enraged and traumatized next of kin. If we can’t keep weapons and violence out of our most secure correctional facilities, how do we expect to keep them out of the schools built and managed by the same jurisdictions? Food for thought! Bon appetite!

  5. We can only the hope he gets the same ultimate fate as was deserving Jeffrey Dahmer. I hope I never have to depend on a jury like this for justice. The defense had an impossible job and absolutely failed IMHO. Sad … very sad and I hope the victim families suffer no more in time than they already are now.

  6. “Would you want your fate put in the hands of the same kinds of people who deliver the mail, “protect” our environment, respond to health threats, grant us permission to exercise our rights, and enforce our laws?”

    If someone goes on a shooting rampage at a school, they volunteer to put their fate in the hands of the state and a jury. In this case, the jury fvcked up.

    I hope that Cruz gets Dahmered in the joint. Nothing less than death will do for that punk.

    • “Would you want your fate put in the hands of the same kinds of people who deliver the mail, “protect” our environment, respond to health threats, grant us permission to exercise our rights, and enforce our laws?”

      I feel like I put my fate in these same peoples’ hands every day I get on the highway or interstate. It’s Deathrace 3000 on my way into work…a little less so on the commute home. More like Parking Lot 3000. Might be time to retire for good.

      Yes–Crud deserves and will receive the ultimate Judgement. In this life and the next. Hope he enjoys the full extent of brimstone and hellfire.

  7. Utter bullshit. The death penalty is perfectly fine for sick twisted pieces of shit like this. Save your crybaby government shouldn’t have the power argument, because the founding fathers didn’t agree with you. They would’ve had this guy suffer from a short drop and a sudden stop within a couple days of his apprehension.

    On a positive note, prison justice is real, and it will be far more painful then a needle and a nap.

    • We live with the biden .gov now. The same .gov that is making political prisoners out of their opponents. I do not wish for this fascist .gov to have the power of death over its citizens.

    • The little punk, now in the biblical sense, will have to be kept in protective solitary.

      He can have fantasies of being rescued from his oppression by Dacian’s antifa troop as he is the poster boy of incels.

  8. Civilized nations have outlawed the death penalty decades ago. It is only in the viscous uncivilized, savage, Capitalvania that such barbarous practices continue to be practiced including torture under the jackbooted Republican Presidents and of course cheered on by the bloodthirsty, stingy, cheap and selfish far right who believe in murdering people over property rights which has also been outlawed decades ago in civilized countries.

    The death penalty is often arbitrary and capricious and it is well known that racism plays a big part in who is sentence to death with minorities getting the death sentence far more than Whites do that commit identical crimes, that is established and irrefutable fact.

    The second problem with the death penalty is that when the jury makes a mistake and murders an innocent person there is no way to undo the murder. Even before dna testing was invented it was known that over 250 some innocent people were put to death in uncivilized Capitalvania and the actual count was probably at least double that.

    None of this matters to the viscous and barbaric far right who constantly howl for death and torture and have also stated they approved of the hideous torture of prisoners, especially during the Gulf War and at Guantanamo Bay prison. The Far Right are as savage and cruel as the prisoners that they howl for the blood of. If given even half a chance they would bring back the burning alive of people they accuse of being witches because of their bronze age mysticism.

    The Far Right have in past even hung an 8 year old starving boy for stealing a loaf of bread.

    In the case of the President Lincoln assassinators being executed the woman hung was not given clemency when in an almost identical murder in another case the other person was given clemency. The death penalty of course has always been capricious and arbitrary up to the present day.

    Some prisoners have stated that life imprisonment is often more cruel than execution because they have said it is a living death. Timothy McVeigh chose death when he could have lived for years on death row. In a way the executed person has the last laugh as he cannot suffer anymore and does not know he is dead.

    The death penalty does not prevent mentally ill people from committing murder and over 11,000 years of civilization has proven this beyond all doubt. Nor does the death penalty bring back the dead or make the bereaved feel any better because it is the loss of the loved ones that haunts them.

    In the murder of Chris Kyle the murderer was only spared because of his prior military service and his history of PTSD. If the murderer had not been a military veteran he would have been executed even if he would have had the identical PTSD problems, again proving how arbitrary and capricious the death penalty really is.

    • Bloodthirsty, stingy, cheap, stingy, etc. etc.

      Sounds like hate speech to me. Shouldn’t we, as a civilized nation, put your ass in a cell next to murder boy?

    • bloodthirsty, stingy, cheap and selfish far right who believe in murdering people over property rights.

      I know this is pointless to even respond to but sometimes we all indulge ourselves. I have taught my children that theft in any of its forms is a form of stealing a part of someone’s life. We all have a finite time on this earth. What we do with said time in exchange for our property through the transaction of time for money can not be undone. Therefore when someone deprives you of any of your property they are in effect murdering a small part of you. They are depriving you of something that has enough value to you to exchange your most precious resource for it. In conclusion the only appropriate response to someone who would deprive you of your life is death in kind. It is certainly not an equal transaction as a whole life for only a portion of life stolen is not desirable but it is the only available solution. Often times the one commiting the crime of theft would continue to lead a life of leaching off of others into the future until stopped forcibly. This only hastens the process.

      • Risk versus Reward. The thief is willing to risk his whole life to steal a portion of someone else’s. The lesson *should* be: Don’t gamble with something that you’re not willing to lose.

    • Who do you think you’re kidding? You said the Capitol Police had automatic weapons and they should have used them on a crowd of unarmed protesters. You were openly fantasizing about the government handing down the death penalty to political dissidents without a trial!

      • to dud brain

        quote———–they should have used them on a crowd of unarmed protesters. ————quote

        If you had bothered to listen and watch the Jan 6th hearings today 10-13-2022 you would never have made such a ludicrous statement. The hearings today detailed the massive amount of weapons that were found by the FBI and Law Enforcement including a room stacked to the ceiling with weapons. Many people were openly carrying firearms including assault rifles and pistols on their hips. There was even a documented sighting of sniper up in a tree waving his gun around.

        Dud brain you have repeatedly defended these people who were led by the Proud Boys who the FBi listed as one of the most dangerous right wing groups in the country and you again defended them on this forum and refused to acknowledge they were trying to overthrow the government and form a 1 party jackbooted state with Herr Drumpf as Der Fuhrer appointed for life.

        The capital hearings today proved beyond any doubt the far right manics were there to overthrow the government by force. If Trump had been permitted to lead them as he wanted to there would have been a tremendous loss of life. A tragedy for the people in Congress but a godsend if the vicious naked apes that tried to destroy our country would have been stopped by gunfire from the cops.

        And the Capital police could not have arrested so many dangerous brigans for a trial as the police would have been lucky to survive if the shooting had started justifying the police using their weapons because it would have been an all out war to save our country from tyranny and slavery under a jack booted dictatorship of the fanatical far right.

        • “you would never have made such a ludicrous statement”

          I didn’t make that statement. You did. Are you trying to justify your bloodlust by saying people were armed? So now you’re also for the police preemptively opening fire on conceal carriers?

          “it would have been an all out war to save our country from tyranny and slavery under a jack booted dictatorship of the fanatical far right.”

          Wait a second. Is this the other comic relief dacian?

        • To Dud Brain

          You supported the Capitol riots and claimed they were not trying to take over the government by force. You have said in the past they were unarmed.

          The Jan 6th Hearings yesterday proved otherwise.

        • Actually I never gave an opinion on the protesters one way or another except that they didn’t deserve to be shot. It was widely reported that they weren’t armed with guns. Provide me a link showing who had firearms, where they were, and what they did with them. I’ll check it out tonight or tomorrow.

        • “dacian
          October 14, 2022 At 12:09
          To Dud Brain

          You supported the Capitol riots and claimed they were not trying to take over the government by force. You have said in the past they were unarmed.”

          Citation?

          Oh, nevermind.
          Just realized that was posted by our resident pathological liar and all around POS lil’dtard.

    • dacian,

      You rant does not apply to the case at hand.

      Is there a reasonable doubt that he committed the heinous acts? Is there any shred of evidence that absolves him of the crime? Was his crime heinous? Did he commit the crime of his own free will?

      If you can say “no” to any of those questions, then the death penalty would be immoral. All four questions can be answered with a “yes” which means his death would be a moral act. Any you think that can be answered with a “no” should be explained.

      You always inject race in arguments, again that is not relevant as he is Caucasian.

      Would his death deter someone else? Evidence either way to deterrence is anecdotal, and cannot be confirmed with reliability. What we can know with all certainty, is that once dead he could never gain parole or escape prison to harm others, or even harm guards or other inmates. I do not believe his ability to live will benefit mankind in anyway as he is not likely to make a discovery to cure a disease or write literature for the ages. You can consider his death as a very late term abortion if you don’t have the stomach for killing anything outside the confines of the womb.

      You have made comments supporting hanging people, namely Geo Washington. You would be a hypocrite if you did not support capital punishment for the individual in question. After all, Washington led a revolution, this individual preyed on and killed unarmed people.

      And let’s not forget the mass murders by those who claimed Socialism as the way forward. More hypocrisy by the ones who claim progressivism.

      • To Storm Trooper

        Capital punishment is bloodlust revenge. It does not prevent murder and 11,000 years of history prove it.

        Many innocent people have died because of Capital punishment because they were wrongly convicted. Jack booted people like you just right them off with the wave of your hand.

        • I agree that it isn’t a deterrent. I think most people view it more as justice than a realistic deterrent. I’m not personally an advocate for multiple reasons. People like this guy deserve to live alone in a windowless hole for the rest of his life.

        • Well – as you said, murder can’t be prevented. So hopefully someone in prison, willing to absorb the additional penalty, will redeem themselves, to some extent, for society, and maybe for themselves.

        • “ Many innocent people have died because of Capital punishment because they were wrongly convicted.”

          That’s not this guy though. 😆

    • Fuk civilized nations. If your definition of “civilized” means we coddle monsters, you can be fukked right along with all those civilized nations.

  9. Of course I disagree with the jury, but that is always a possibility. The good news is that no one will hear the little bastard fart in a week or two.

  10. Man, can i get a refund on my taxes? I don’t want to pay for this piece of shit for the rest of my or his life.
    Life without parole is the same as a death sentence, but longer and more expensive.

  11. Another example of misplaced compassion. The trial could have been avoided if schools were properly defended by armed staff. Wake the Fck up people!! What are you gonna do the next time? And there will be a next time.

  12. It’s all good UNTIL an 0bama appointed federal judge releases this POS in about 20 years in the name of “justice”. This ruling is UTTERLY absurd and disconcerting. Hopefully he’s got a shiv waiting for him.

  13. I agree with Max, a tax refund is only fair. Take it out of the gutless juror(s) that wanted this garbage to continue breathing. Damn, I feel for the families.

  14. Gotta ask this one; why didn’t fearless Bloomberg lead the charge on this one and fund prosecution to win the death penalty? He surely hates the private individual use of firearms. I would think he’d be all over this one. Obviously it had to be a planted juror/jurors that made sure the otherwise useless and pathetic defense won and spared a spawn of Satan himself a few last minutes with Old Sparky.

  15. OK, this is kinda home turf. I never worked FL DOC, I just did my best to put them in there, but I do know a few that do. The smart money says that his “life sentence without parole” will be much shorter and much less pleasant than a death sentence. Less expensive, too.

  16. He will serve life as long as a liberal Democrat does not become governor of Florida and commute his sentence on “compassionate” grounds. Jurors are increasingly queasy imposing death sentences. The judge was a former prosecutor in the career criminal division. If only she could impose the sentence.

  17. Broward County Florida is right behind NYC in hosting liberalism. Its leaders, city governments, school board, and most residents are Marxist. I live there, behind the lines in a small Republican stronghold. Its where in 2020 those who had more than 2 Trump signs in their yards were given notices of code violations while homes with lawns full of Biden signs were permitted. I had expected a jury would hand Cruz a life sentence knowing that liberalism is the religion of Broward County. While Cruz pulled the trigger it was government at all levels that really killed those people that day. And not a single agency was held responsible, or its leaders tried for malfeasance.

    • Yep, the sentence was a foregone conclusion.

      Making spree-killing a special legal category seems likely helpful and doable.

  18. Not a single piece of shit cop has been charged. Not a single piece of shit US Marshal, who had the “courage” to arrest the parents that were screaming at them to go in, has been charged. Cops are your enemy. They are the enforcers of a system that acts as though your life is its property and that you are beholden to them. This country will descend into violence and the pieces of human filth that are government workers will be the recipients of some of the most heinous and brutal violence. There are tons of American citizens in a cage for possessing a firearm without a “permit” or for carrying something a costumed clown carries around. We tell the government what they can possess, not the other way around. This country is fracturing and the people whose lives have been destroyed by government actors will hunt those “public servants.”

  19. The question is REVENGE, PUNISHMENT or DETERRENT . Revenge is a poor subsitute for punishment and always has been and neither PUNISHMENt or REVENGE is a deterrent .

    OK I know it cost’s a great deal of money to keep anybody in jail but should that justify revenge.
    Do you know whatthe n most effective DETERRENTD S to crime are? ONE PUBLIC HUMILIATIOIN with CORPORAL PUNISHMENT [with the CAT’O NINETAILS and the simple fact of APOLOGISING to victims

  20. Copycat, Raleigh, told ya…

    Render spree-killers nonexistent without undue foofaraw.

    Nonexistence is their least dangerous possible state.

  21. Why do you have to spell out the name of this a..hole? Just replace it with the murderer from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School! And also, no pictures of that piece of sh…

  22. I’m adverse to sending anyone to their death or using the death penalty but there are instances where it’s warranted and this is one of them. I think it’s more humane to the guilty party and provides closure to the victims.

    But, I wasn’t a jury member so my say is moot.

  23. And he will be let out, far sooner than anyone things. Blah blah mass incarceration, blah blah reform, blah blah restorative justice. Either he will be declared reformed, or there will be some new “pandemic” or other BS excuse for why we have to empty the prisons. Out by his 40s.

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