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Jury reaches verdict on Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz sentence

A Broward County, Florida jury reached a verdict Wednesday on determine whether Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz should be executed for the 2018 school massacre.

The jury’s recommendation is expected to be read at 10:30 a.m. EDT.

Cruz, 24, pleaded guilty last year to the murders of 14 students and three staff members at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018 – a date that he said he picked so the school would never celebrate Valentine’s Day again.

Cruz fired volleys from an AR-15-style semi-automatic down hallways and into classrooms for about seven minutes, returning to those who lay wounded to kill them.

Cruz said he purchased the rifle almost exactly a year before the shooting and began to seriously plan it about seven months in advance. 

At one point in the deliberations, jurors came back to the courtroom to have the testimony of two doctors read back to them about the mental state of Cruz. 


He researched previous mass shooters, saying he tried to learn from their experience.

During the three-month penalty trial that determined his sentence, prosecutors played security videos of the shooting and showed gruesome crime scene and autopsy photos. 

Teachers and students testified about seeing other students and staff killed, while parents and spouses gave emotional statements.

Cruz’s lead attorney Melisa McNeill and her team argued that his birth mother’s heavy drinking during pregnancy left him with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. 

His adoptive mother could not cope with his severe mental and emotional deficits, which were never properly treated, McNeill told jurors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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