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Jury Spares Nikolas Cruz From Death In Parkland School Massacre

Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz will be sentenced to life without parole for the 2018 murder of 17 people at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. A jury said Thursday that it could not unanimously agree that he should be executed, the Associated Press reports. The jury’s recommendation came after seven hours of deliberations over two days, ending a three-month trial that included graphic videos, photos and evidence about the massacre and its aftermath, heart-wrenching testimony from victims’ family members and a tour of the still blood-spattered building.

Thursday’s decision is unlikely to bring real closure to anyone involved, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. . It won’t return the 17 lives that were lost, the children whose only crime was going to school on Valentine’s Day 2018, or the teachers who tried to save them. It won’t remove the scars from the victims who survived the attack with shrapnel lodged in their skin. It won’t erase the memories of dozens of children who made their way out of the building by stepping over the bodies and blood of their slaughtered classmates. Cruz, 19 when he committed the murders, offered almost immediately to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence. Prosecutors rejected the offer, refusing to allow the defendant to choose his own fate. Over the course of four years, the public learned how many times Cruz was identified as a safety threat, and how little was done to address it. Cruz said in court almost a year ago, "I am very sorry for what I did and I have to live with it every day and that if I were to get a second chance I would do everything in my power to try to help others." Family members of the slain victims greeted his confession with undisguised contempt.


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