The Parkland, Fl., Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter who killed 17 people in 2018 will face a sentencing trial beginning Monday, NPR reports. Nikolas Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty and now could be sentenced to the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. The jury must be unanimous in order for Cruz to receive a death sentence. The trial has been delayed several times because of the COVID-19 pandemic and requests from Cruz’s attorney. Cruz’s attorney sought another delay, arguing that the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Tx., would trigger jurors' emotions that would unfairly affect the trial. The judge rejected the request. Cruz’s attorney is expected to argue that Cruz’s judgment was impaired by mental illness. However, this will be difficult to prove, given the premeditation that went into the shooting. The trial will feature survivor testimony and video taken by students during the shooting.
According to prosecutors, on Feb. 14, 2018, Cruz, who had been expelled from the school a year earlier, took an Uber to the school. He entered and began firing an AR-15-style rifle into classrooms. He killed 14 students and 3 staff members and injured 17 others. After the shooting, surviving students organized nationwide March For Our Lives rallies and advocated for gun control legislation. After the shooting, Florida raised the age to buy long guns, including rifles, to 21. The state also provided more funding for security at schools and allowed police officers to take weapons from anyone they deem a threat.