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Jury Selection Begins on FL Shooter Cruz' Potential Death Penalty

Jury selection began Monday in a trial to decide whether the gunman in the 2018 Parkland high-school shooting should be sentenced to death, the Wall Street Journal reports. Nikolaus Cruz, 23, Cruz pleaded guilty in October to killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Cruz snuck into the high school, pulled the fire alarm and killed students as they exited their classrooms. Under Florida law, he will either receive the death penalty or be sentenced to life without parole. In order for Cruz to receive the death penalty, the 12-person jury will need to reach a unanimous decision.

The Florida shooting has prompted protests across the nation in favor of gun control, many companies abandoning support of the Nation Rifle Association and a Florida law raising the age limit for gun purchases. In the past, mass shooters have mostly killed themselves or been killed by law enforcement. Only 20 of 178 mass shooters since the 1960s have been sentenced to death. The last shooter to receive the death penalty was Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who killed nine members of a black church in South Carolina. Prison sentences have been imposed on 32, including James Holmes, who killed 12 at a Colorado movie theater. in Florida, Cruz’s attorneys plan to argue that their client suffered from prenatal alcohol exposure, brain damage, suicidal thoughts and “cognitive deficits” and is less morally culpable.

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