Jury recommends life in prison for Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz

The 12-member jury began deliberations on Wednesday.

Published: October 13, 2022 9:42am

Updated: October 13, 2022 11:51am

A Florida jury on Thursday recommended life in prison without parole for Parkland gunman Nikolas Cruz.

Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer read the jury's recommendations for all 17 people who were killed by Cruz.

Cruz, 24, faced the death sentence or life in prison without the possibility of parole after he pleaded guilty to 17 murder charges and 17 attempted murder charges related to the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida. 

The 12-member jury deliberated for seven and a half hours after starting Wednesday. Jurors must unanimously recommend the death sentence, according to Florida law, and the ultimate decision is up to the judge, CNN reported.

The penalty trial began in July after a two-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic and legal challenges.

Public defenders for Cruz asked the jurors to consider his history of mental issues and dysfunctional family.

Prosecutors presented evidence Cruz spent months searching online for information about mass shootings.

Jurors visited the scene of the shooting, which had been sealed since the massacre and still had blood stains on the classroom floors.

Fourteen students and three staff members died in the Parkland shooting, making it the deadliest high school mass shooting in U.S. history.

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