Nicholas Cruzthe young author of the massacre in 2018 in a parkland high schoolin South Florida, was formally sentenced this Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
State Magistrate Elizabeth Scherer pronounced in a court in Fort Lauderdale, north of Miami, a verdict already known, given that last month the jury did not reach the unanimity required by law to recommend the death penalty Cruz, now 24 years old.
Three of the 12 jurors voted at the time against executing Cruz, saying he was suffering from mental problemsfor which the young man’s life was spared, a verdict that aroused the indignation of a large majority of the victims’ relatives.
Cruz pleaded guilty last year to all the charges he faced after kill 17 people with an assault rifle and wound another 17 on February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas School, where he was a student.
Handcuffed and dressed in an orange uniform, the young man today looked showing no emotion to the magistrate while she read, at times with a broken voice, the 34 consecutive sentences that she imposed for each of the fatalities and injuries, and that sentence Cruz to spend the rest of her life in a state prison.
“They are a wonderful strong community,” they have each other, Scherer told the relatives of the victims present in the room shortly before reading the sentences, and after noting that their personal stories “will not be forgotten.”
The imposition of the sentence took place on the second day of hearings in which the families of the victims offered shocked and outraged testimoniesand where for the first time they were able to speak directly to Cruz, who was harshly reproached for the devastation that the murder of their loved ones has produced in their lives.
“You are going to suffer and you are going to go through pain, a lot of pain”, Manuel Oliver, father of Joaquín Oliver, one of the fatal victims in the shooting, and the last to give his testimony this Wednesday, told Cruz.
“From what I’ve heard, child killers are very frowned upon and hated in prison. I welcome the day when I am told that you have been tortured for your heinous cold-blooded, premeditated and calculated murders, because you deserve nothing less,” Linda Beigel Schulman, the mother of slain teacher Scott Beigel, told him.
For many of the relatives, the conclusion of the judicial process implies at the same time the closure of a painful stage and the possibility of moving on with their lives, under the promise of never dedicating more time to the perpetrator of the massacre, as some of them pointed out. they.
“After today, no one will talk about this murderer, he will be forgotten,” Annika Dworet, the mother of the 17-year-old victim, Nicholas Dworet, said in court, closing her speech by reading the names of her son and the other 16 murdered. .
On the first day of hearings, Max Schachter, Alexander’s father, vented part of his anger against the defense’s argument, according to which the massacre had its origin in the brain damage Cruz suffered due to drug and alcohol use by part of her mother while she was pregnant.
“There is no brain damage here and it is an insult to the people who really have it,” exclaimed the father, who during his testimony gave a detailed recount of all the medical and psychological treatment that the young man received throughout his life. “(The shooting) was an act of pure evil,” he asserted.
Once sentenced, Cruz will be transferred from the Broward County Jail where he is being held to a Florida Correctional System processing center and then to a maximum security prisonwhere at the beginning he will foreseeably be separated from the rest of the prisoners under a protection program.
At some point, possibly in a few years, prison officials will finally deem it safe to put him alongside the rest of the prison population.
(With information from EFE)