Science

How the Parkland School Shooter May Have Sent Himself to Death: “One of the State’s Best Witnesses”

it’s possible Florida School Shooter Nicolas Cruz sentenced himself to death.

Prosecutors played the video last week Cruz’s penal trial In a jailhouse interview he did this year with two of his mental health experts. In clear and sometimes graphic detail, he answers his questions about his massacre of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on February 14, 2018 β€” his plan, his motivation, the shootings.

School Shooter Florida
Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nicholas Cruz is shown on a courtroom monitor during a videotaped interview with clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Robert L. Denny as Dr. Denny walks past the penalty phase of Cruz’s trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Testified during on Thursday, October 6, 2022.

Amy Beth Bennett / AP


While it is not known what the 12 jurors are thinking, if someone is staggering between voting for death or life without parole, Dr. Charles Scott, a forensic psychiatrist, and Robert Denny, a neuropsychologist, were told. His statements given did not help him. reason.

β€œAll of this made Cruz probably one of the best witnesses in the state,” said David S. Weinstein, a Miami defense attorney and former prosecutor who is overseeing the trial.

The jury will likely decide on Cruise’s fate this week. For the 24-year-old to be sentenced to death, the jury must be unanimous on at least one victim. But if all 17 counts come back with at least one vote in favor of life in prison, that would be his sentence. Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday, with deliberations to begin on Wednesday.

12 jurors and 10 options that will decide whether Cruz receives the death penalty or life in prison. Rare visit to the scene of massacre In August, revisiting the cruise steps through the three-story freshman building known as “Building 12.” A group of journalists after his departure – Including Joan Murray of CBS Miami – Earlier public viewing was allowed to be very fast.

“It was really frozen in time,” Murray said.

Because Cruz’s defense is that his birth mother’s heavy drinking during pregnancy Leaving him brain-damaged, prosecutors could get him examined by experts for their denial case.

Scott and Denny interviewed them separately for several hours. In each, Cruz sat across the table, handcuffed, with a sweater draped over his chest. He sometimes asked for a pen and paper to add diagrams and sketches to his explanations.

“The question is: what would the jury take away from the interview? The cold-blooded killer who was vengeful and excited about the killings, or a man so hopelessly neurotic that he could be nothing but insane?” Professor Bob Jarvis of Nova Southeastern University’s Law School.

Excerpts from those interviews, some of which are graphic:

How long had Cruz been considering shooting at the school?

“Very long time,” Cruz told Scott, about five years before he did it from when he was 13 or 14.

“It was just a thought. I was reading books,” Cruz said. “It will come and go. It will pop into my mind.”

He said the thoughts came back when he watched violent videos, particularly documentaries about mass shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, Virginia Tech, and elsewhere.

How did Cruz plan the massacre?

“I did my research,” Cruz told Scott. “I studied mass murderers and how they did it, their plans, what they found and what they used.”

He details the lessons he’s learned: Watch out for rescuers coming around corners, keep some distance from your target victims, attack as quickly as possible β€” and “the police didn’t do anything.”

“I have a small opportunity to shoot people for maybe 20 minutes,” Cruz said.

How did Cruise prepare?

He told Scott that he put his AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle in a bag the night before and slipped his magazines into a shooting vest. He adjusted the sight of the gun and imagined what it would feel like to retreat.

“I can’t sleep,” Cruz said.

When he was a member of the Stoneman Douglas Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program, he donned a burgundy polo shirt so that he could mingle with the fleeing students.

“If I had my (shooting) gear, they would have called the police,” Cruz said.

When he left at 2 p.m., he told the Uber driver that he was in the school’s orchestra and that the bag contained his instrument.

What did he do when Cruise arrived?

Cruz told Scott, “I went through the gate. Hopefully there won’t be any security guards, but I was wrong.” “I was looking at the man and he was looking at me.”

When Cruise joined Stoneman Douglas, guards often checked him for weapons because of his erratic and sometimes violent behavior. When he was expelled a year before the shooting, a guard predicted that he would eventually return and shoot people.

Fearing to be found, Cruz broke into a three-story classroom building and quickly gathered up his weapon. He told one of the students aboard him to run away as something bad was about to happen.

Then he went from floor to floor, shooting in hallways and classrooms, firing 140 shots in total.

“I thought they would scream,” Cruz said of his first three victims. He shot them point-blank outside a closed classroom door. “It was like they died and their heads were bleeding. It was really bad and sad to see.”

But he continued.

Cruz said, “I think I took pity on the three girls. I was about to walk away, but they showed bad faces and I went back.” “I thought they were going to attack me.”

Cruz shot several of his victims a second time after the fall, including his last – a student who was recuperating from a leg wound. He said the boy “gave me a bad look. A look of anger.”

“His head flew like a water balloon,” Cruz said.

Why did Cruise stop shooting?

Students and teachers fled the building or locked themselves in classrooms. The hallway on the third floor was now empty except for the victims.

“I didn’t get anyone to kill me,” he said. “I didn’t want to do it any more and I didn’t think there was anyone else in the building.”

He dropped his gun and vest on the ladder and fled. He was captured an hour later – Police Officer Stoneman Douglas was looking for a young male in the ROTC Polo.

Cruise’s final say

When Denny was finishing the final interview, he asked Cruise if there was anything else he should know. Cruz thought for 10 seconds before responding: “Why did I choose Valentine’s Day.”

“Because I thought no one would love me,” Cruz explained. “I didn’t like Valentine’s Day and wanted to ruin it for everyone.”

“Do you mean the family members of the children who were killed?” Denny asked.

“No, for school,” Cruz replied.

He said that the holiday will never be celebrated there again.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button