Crime Jurors see Florida school shooter's violent internet posts
Jurors in Parkland School Shooting Trial to Visit Still-Bloodstained Building
The 12-member jury, 10 alternates, attorneys and Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer will tour the three-story building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on ThursdayJurors involved in the Parkland school shooting trial are scheduled to visit the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 14 students and 3 staff members were killed in a mass shooting more than four years ago, on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Jurors in the penalty trial of Florida school shootersaw evidence Wednesday of his growing obsession to commit a massacre, seeing internet posts and searches about mass killings in the months before he murdered at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In an emotionless monotone, Broward County sheriff’s Detective Nick Masters read hundreds of searches and comments Cruz made starting seven months before the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre as prosecutors try to prove he planned it.
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They included searches about the mass shootings at Columbine High School in 1999, a movie theater in the Denver suburbs in 2012, Virginia Tech University in 2007, a South Carolina Black church in 2015 and a Las Vegas country music concert in 2017.
In comments, Cruz praised Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in 2014 before taking his own life and has become a touchstone among disturbed young men who identify as “involuntary celibates” or “incels" because women won't date them.
In posts on YouTube, Cruz wrote “I wanna kill people,” “I’m going to be a professional school shooter," “I have no problem shooting a girl in the chest" and “No mercy.” He wrote “It makes me happy to see people die” followed by a smiley face emoji and “I love to see the familys suffer.”
School shooter's brain exams to be subject of court hearing
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A defense mental health expert in the penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz can pinpoint when he realized the 23-year-old mass murderer still has “irrational thoughts” — the two were making small talk when Cruz began describing plans for an eventual life outside prison. Wesley Center, a Texas counselor, said that happened last year at the Broward County jail as he fitted Cruz's scalp with probes for aWesley Center, a Texas counselor, said that happened last year at the Broward County jail as he fitted Cruz's scalp with probes for a scan to map his brain.
About two months before his attack, Cruz turned his focus toward Stoneman Douglas, the school he periodically attended before he was expelled in early 2017. He researched the school's operating hours and pulled up a campus map.
Finally, less than 24 hours before the massacre, he searched for, “How long does it take a cop to show up at a school shooting?” He fled the school after seven minutes.
Some of the seven men and five women on the jury and their 10 alternates scribbled madly as Cruz's words were posted on video screens in front of them. Victims' parents and family members in the gallery audibly gasped as they saw the posts, with some shaking their heads.
Under questioning by Cruz's attorney, Masters said all the posts were in public forums and many under his own name. He said that, to his knowledge, Google and YouTube had no method for locating and reporting such posts and searches.
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Cruz, 23,, meaning the jury will decide only whether he is sentenced to death or life without parole. The shooting left 14 students, a teacher, the athletic director and an assistant football coach dead.
Earlier Wednesday, a jail guard testified that Cruz attacked him with little warning nine months after the massacre and tried to wrest away his electric stun gun.
Jurors sawof the Nov. 13, 2018, brawl with Broward County sheriff’s Sgt. Raymond Beltran, who was supervising Cruz’s recreation period in the isolated area where he is kept.
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The guard testified that after he told Cruz to walk properly on his slippers, Cruz flashed both middle fingers and then charged him, flipping the guard onto the ground. Beltran was able to flip Cruz over and they wrestled over Beltran's Taser, which Cruz was able to pull from its holster.
He said he feared Cruz would use it against him and then “he could do whatever he wants to me.”
The Taser discharged, but the probes missed both of them. Beltran regained control of the Taser and used it to punch Cruz, staggering him. Cruz then got on the ground, was handcuffed and put back into his cell. Beltran suffered no serious injuries.
With the trial now in its second week, the jury has seenand heard from and police officers who rushed into the nightmarish scene inside a three-story classroom building. They have examined
They also saw video depictingas he walked to a sandwich shop to buy a drink and then visited a McDonald's just minutes after he fled the school. On Monday, Cruz fired more than 150 times.
This is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history to reach trial. Nine U.S. gunmen besides Cruz who killed at least 17 people died during or immediately after their shootings, either by suicide or police gunfire. The suspect in a 10th,is awaiting trial.
Parkland Shooter's Defense Attorneys To Argue Against Death Sentence
In Florida, only a unanimous recommendation by the jury can result in a death sentence. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, there have been no executions in the state since 2019. Miami-based defense attorney David S. Weinstein said the defense team is "going to say, 'look, you saw what happened'—we are not going to argue that. "It was horrible, that was awful, that was horrific, whatever adjectives you want to use." He then said the team would argue: "He (Cruz) never had a chance and, because of that, his poor victims never had a chance.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that they plan to end their case next week after the jury visits the building where the massacre occurred. It has been sealed off since shortly after the shooting and its walls and floors remain blood-stained and bullet-pocked, with rotted Valentine’s Day flowers and deflated balloons strewn about.
After a one-week break, the trial will resume with a defense case that will focus on Cruz’s life, including his birth mother’s drinking during pregnancy, his long history of emotional and mental problems, his alleged sexual abuse and the deaths of his adopted parents. The prosecution will then present a rebuttal case.
When jurors get the case, probably in October or November, they will vote 17 times, once for each of the victims, on whether to recommend capital punishment.
For each death sentence, the jury must be unanimous or the sentence for that victim is life. The jurors are told that to vote for death, the prosecution’s aggravating circumstances for that victim must, in their judgment, “outweigh” the defense’s mitigators. A juror can also vote for life out of mercy for Cruz. During jury selection, the panelists said under oath that they are capable of voting for either sentence.
Associated Press reporter Freida Frisaro in Miami contributed to this report.
Testimony: Florida school shooter was intellectually slow .
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz as a toddler was intellectually and physically behind other children, which caused him to isolate himself and hit and bite to get what he wanted, a daycare administrator and former neighbor testified Tuesday at his penalty trial for mass murder. Cruz's attorneys began the second day of their defense by building on testimony that his birth mother's cocaine and alcohol abuse during pregnancy left him severely brain damaged, putting him on a road that led to him murdering 14 students and three staff members at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.