Florida officials and family members of Parkland school shooting victims are expressing outrage and grief after aTo save the gunman from the death penalty. Seventeen people – 14 students and three staff members – were killed in the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“I’m angry. I’m angry,” Patricia Oliver, who lost her 17-year-old son Joaquin in the shooting, told CBS News. “I think justice was not done.”
Jury foreman Benjamin Thomas said three of the 12 jury members voted against the death penalty for Nicolas Cruz, a former school student.Last year in 17 counts of first degree murder. Instead he would be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Under Florida law, the death penalty requires a unanimous recommendation of jurors.
Thomas said the jury wasIncluding the defense’s argument that the shooter was mentally ill due to his mother’s drug and alcohol abuse while she was pregnant.
Thomasthat he did not agree with the result.
“It didn’t go the way I wanted, or the way I voted, but that’s how the jury system works,” he said. “Everyone gets their vote. Everyone has to decide. We looked at all the evidence, and some of the jurors felt that was the appropriate sentence.”
the families of the victims wereby decision.
Anne Ramsay said, “You’ve sent the message to everyone out there… you’ll just leave saying you’re crazy,” said Helena, the daughter killed in the shooting.
Joaquin Oliver’s father watched the proceedings from Tulsa, Oklahoma. His wife said that she personally decided not to come to trial because it would have been too painful. Instead, he is traveling around the country in a school bus emblazoned with his son’s nickname “Guac” to promote the prevention of gun violence.
After the trial, he told CBS News, “In Florida we have the option of the death penalty, and we don’t use it when 17 people die in a massacre inside a school.”
Linda Beigel Schulman, whose son Scott Beigel was a teacher who was killed in the shooting, said that the death penalty “would mean that we made sure they were given the death penalty just as they made sure they did to our loved ones.” killed.”
Ron DeSantis of Florida Gov. also disagreed with the jury’s decision, calling it a “miscarriage of justice.”
“The only suitable punishment for the massacre of 17 innocent people is the death penalty,”,
Prosecutors filed a motion late Thursday seeking an investigation into a jury member, who said she felt threatened by another member during deliberations,informed of.
Judge Elizabeth Shire is set to formally issue Cruz’s life sentence on November 1.