Nikolas Cruz jail guard attack video
AP
Previous Post
Next Post

 

By Terry Spencer, AP

The suspect in the 2018 killing of 17 people at a Florida high school is finally going on trial — but not for the slayings. Jury selection begins Monday on charges Nikolas Cruz attacked a Broward County jail guard nine months after the Feb. 14, 2018, shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Cruz, a former Stoneman Douglas student, brawled with Sgt. Raymond Beltran after being jailed on charges of killing 14 students and three staff members and wounding 17 others. No date has been set for the murder trial, which has been delayed by the pandemic and arguments over witnesses and evidence. It may start in the next few months.

“The accused murderer who took our children’s lives is clearly violent and took that out on a guard. He needs to face the justice system for that,” said Tony Montalto, president of Stand With Parkland, a group comprised of victims’ families. His 14-year-old daughter, Gina, died in the shooting.

Cruz, 23, faces a possible 15-year sentence if convicted of attempted criminal battery on a law enforcement officer and three lesser charges. Cruz will get either death or life in prison without parole if he is later found guilty of first-degree murder, but this trial still has relevance. If Cruz is convicted of attacking Beltran, prosecutors can argue that is an aggravating factor when they seek his execution during the penalty phase of his murder trial if convicted.

“If that is entered as an aggravating factor, it will be hard for that not to be in the back of the jury’s mind,” said Mark Dobson, a professor at Nova Southeastern University’s law school and a former Florida prosecutor.

Prosecutors declined significant comment, only saying in a statement that “the jail video and evidence in the case speak for themselves.”

Cruz’s public defenders declined comment, saying they don’t want to further traumatize the shooting victims’ families by discussing their client.

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz confers with his attorney David Wheeler, right on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, during a motion to dismiss a jailhouse assault case at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Cruz’s attorneys are expected to argue that Beltran mistreated Cruz previously and provoked the Nov. 13, 2018, brawl, which occurred inside a Broward County jail recreation area and was captured on a soundless security video.

According to court records, Cruz’s lead attorney, Melisa McNeill, had complained six weeks before the fight to the Broward Sheriff’s Office about Beltran’s treatment of Cruz. No details of the alleged mistreatment have been released, but his attorneys said at a recent court hearing that Beltran is the only guard they have ever complained about.

Cruz’s attorneys say the sheriff’s office erased video of the three hours Cruz and Beltran spent together before the fight — even though they asked within a day that it be preserved and were told it would be.

The preserved video begins a couple minutes before the brawl. It shows Cruz walking alone in circles with his head down around tables with attached benches. He is dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, a white long-sleeve undershirt and sandals. Beltran is sitting at a table in the corner.

Suddenly, Cruz stops about 10 feet (3 meters) from Beltran and the two appear to exchange words — Beltran told investigators he asked Cruz not to drag his feet and damage his sandals.

Cruz flips both middle fingers at Beltran and then charges the guard, who stands up to defend himself. Cruz, who weighs about 130 pounds (60 kilograms), throws the larger Beltran to the ground, before the guard is able to flip him and briefly pin him. Cruz grabs Beltran’s stun gun and they fight over it as it goes off, apparently jolting neither, before the guard wrests it away.

Cruz escapes Beltran’s grasp and the two take boxing stances. Cruz punches Beltran in the shoulder before the guard hits Cruz in the head, staggering him.

Beltran then rearms his stun gun and points it at Cruz, who had sat on a bench. Cruz lies face down on the ground and is handcuffed. The fight lasted almost exactly a minute. Neither was seriously hurt.

Because of Cruz’s infamy in South Florida, jury selection is scheduled to last three days — in a typical jail battery trial with a defendant the public doesn’t know, it would likely take a few hours. The court plans to screen 400 people to seat six jurors plus alternates. The typical pool for jail battery trials and similar felonies is 22, according to The Florida Bar.

Cruz’s attorneys will want to eliminate any candidates who can’t separate their knowledge of the Stoneman Douglas massacre from the only considerations jurors are supposed to make during this trial: Did Cruz attack Beltran and, if so, was he provoked? Testimony about the killings will not be permitted as that is irrelevant to the assault charge and would be prejudicial.

Once the jury is selected, the rest of the trial is only expected to last one to three days.

The murder trial is expected to last months. Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer has been holding frequent hearings in recent weeks to consider issues that must be resolved before it begins.

“The wheels of justice grind slowly and that is especially true with our group of families,” Montalto said.

Cruz’s attorneys have said he would plead guilty to 17 murders in exchange for a life sentence. Prosecutors have declined the offer, saying this is a case that deserves a death sentence.

Previous Post
Next Post

43 COMMENTS

    • They should just let bubba in his cell to make use of his butthole and then beat him to death.. worthless p.o.s.

    • Well if the prisoner was fed decent food and had access to fresh air and a little real exercise it might be a match. Kinda hard to be your best when your rest is sleeping on concrete with a light shining in your eyes.

      • “Kinda hard to be your best when your rest is sleeping on concrete with a light shining in your eyes.”

        Pfttttpt.

        All the more time he has to do endless push-ups, ab crunches, lunges, etc., until the time comes.

        What kind of exercise do Possums do, anyways? Dumpster leaps? Scurry to get out of the way of a redneck in a pick-em-up truck with faded paint, bald tires and a ratty muffler?

        (Enquirering minds, wanna know, etc… 😉 )

      • “Cruz’s attorneys say the sheriff’s office erased video of the three hours Cruz and Beltran spent together before the fight — even though they asked within a day that it be preserved and were told it would be.“

  1. Here’s hoping that a “decent” inmate chokes the f’ing life out of that little turd and saves the god people of Florida a bunch of money!
    The little POS needs to crack before he gets the chance to go on trial.

    • “Good” not “god”…although I think God would have a bit to do with it if the little sh!t were to assume room temperature.

    • Every time I see that scum’s face, I just know that’s what my demented troll looks like.

      Give the guilty bastard the fair trial he deserves and execute him…

        • That’s where I’m at, actually.

          JWT convinced me with his logic on that, and it makes good sense.

          But every once in a while someone like *that* comes along, and I want rhetorical blood…

  2. Everytime I think of the soul-rending pain this guy deliberately inflicted, I cringe with the realization he has not even been tried. This is not justice. Then again, Hillary’s body count is higher and she is out there Scott-free. Maybe the upcoming financial, economic, governmental, and social upheavals will create opportunity to properly disposition such people.

    If you do not punish the guilty, you are punishing the innocent.

    • SuperMax in Colorado is where he needs to be for the rest of his worthless life, only getting an occasional glimpse of sky from a high window, and never the scenery…

  3. Am I the only one to note that this is another case of corruption in the county sheriff’s office?

    If you delete evidence it is obstruction of justice. if they do it thats business as normal.

    • And we dont know if that guard was pushing Cruz’s buttons either.
      What you did on the outside is what got you locked up, now your just a number or should be, and after spending a little time locked up myself, there are some guards that ask for an ass kicking.
      I remember a guy telling me, ” They treat us like animals and expect us to act human.”

      • “And we dont know if that guard was pushing Cruz’s buttons either.”

        Yeah, the video 30 min. prior is ‘missing’, somehow…

      • Exactly – We atre innocent until proven guilty in a court of law for legal punishment. I am pretty sure he did this deed as is everyone else – but, our law says different. There have always been sadistic and “better than you” guards in jails and prisons.
        Many of us can remember a certain police officer that lived to screw with certain teens – may he burn in Hell! Remembering the police bullying that went on when I was younger, I am ready to give Cruz a chance on this charge, it is very likely that this 1 guard singled him out for extreme harassments and goaded him to do something.

  4. “Prosecutors have declined the offer, saying this is a case that deserves a death sentence.”

    yep, a painful one

  5. As I keep saying, law(s) is the source of crime; no law, no crime. Further, if there is no crime, there is no need for cops, jails and criminal courts.

    Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result, is a form of insanity. When we stop hitting our heads with a hammer, it will feel so good.

    • Get a job at that jail and make something happen…

    • My cousin died in prison right after a fight with the guards over a hair cut. They said it was a heart attack. Had another cousin in Lansing who seen a guy killed over a can of soup. I’ve also some war stories of my own, you’ve gotta be careful what you do and who you talk too, you just might wind up dead.

  6. Florida must be different, but never have I seen one guard inside the confiment area with a prisoner. Plus sitting down.

  7. Solution/resolution?

    1) This is for assaulting the Prison Guard……..(insert needle)

    2) This is for murdering 17 people……..(inject the “death cocktail”)

    Too bad he can’t face a “prolonged” firing squad. Let him experience a round for each life he ended.

  8. While it makes no difference in the greater scheme of things, has anyone heard what his motivation for the murders was? Not looking for an excuse to let the chump continue wasting air, but am curious. If it is some petty crap like he was bullied, or picked on, Many of us out here were and never considered killing anyone. Too much fun in cold revenge at a later date by making you tormenters look stupid. Success is the best revenge for such cases. The bully is living in a single wide with a felony record, while you live in a very nice house and can still own guns legally.
    As for the punk, I do wonder about what really happened. Article mentions that the guard is the only 1 other prisoners have complained about. Could be an arsehole and may have deserved an asskicking. Otherwise if the kid just went off, it may be he has other issues that should have been noticed before he went on his spree. Again, not trying to give him an out, he deserves to be executed, but could give some insight in what to watch for to avoid another kid going shithouse rat crazy, and shooting up another school.

    • Sitting all day playing video games of destruction, some may become the virtual player.
      Answering to just the law and not a higher power.
      Schools that step in with bully me and touch me nots, everyone’s a winner ,not letting adolescents mature into the real world.
      Political correctness, humans are becoming so thin skinned the slightest infraction is a major trauma.
      How bad is it when Sally commits suicide over something said on facebook?

    • it may be he has other issues that should have been noticed before he went on his spree

      Yes, he did have issues and they WERE noticed prior to his killing 17 individuals… Cruz lost his father over a decade ago, and his adoptive mother died from the flu and pneumonia back in November of 2017. After this occurred, a local family whose child went to High School with Cruz, took him in. The family helped him work on getting his GED, after he got EXPELLED from Parkland High School, and got him a job at the local Dollar Tree.

      With everything going on, Cruz had been dealing with depression and some mental illness. He did receive some treatment but stopped. Knowing that Cruz had mental health issues, the family still took him in and allowed him to keep his gun. He had purchased the gun within the last year and passed a background check.

      Besides his mental health issues and depression, there were other warning signs Cruz was troubled. He made multiple comments on YouTube and other platforms about wanting to shoot people with his gun. Apparently, in the past, the FBI was notified about one of the comments. However, at the time, the comment could not be traced back to Cruz. Also, Cruz posted on Instagram multiple photos of guns.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here