A jury has recommended that Nikolas Cruz serve a life sentence after pleading guilty to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.
On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Along his violent path, the convicted shooter killed 14 students and three staff members while injuring more than a dozen more. Following the violent massacre, Cruz was charged with nearly three dozen counts of premeditated murder and attempted murder. Ultimately, he pleaded guilty to the charges levied against him and faced the death penalty in the state of Florida.
On Wednesday, a jury began deliberating on a potential sentence for Nikolas Cruz. As deliberations unfolded, members of the jury asked to see the murder weapon. Shortly after receiving the piece of evidence in question, a decision was reached. While prosecutors pushed for the death penalty, jurors elected to give Cruz a life sentence.
“This plan was goal-directed, it was calculated, it was purposeful and it was a systematic massacre,” prosecutor Mike Satz said, according to NPR.
“You now know that Nikolas is a brain-damaged, broken, mentally-ill person, through no fault of his own…He was literally poisoned in [his mother’s] womb,” Cruz’s attorney, Melissa McNeil, countered.
Cruz, now 24 years old, will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.