Fort Lauderdale, Fla. , Jurors within the penalty trial of Florida faculty shooter Nicolas Cruz on Monday received their first sighting of an AR-15-style rifle they used to homicide 17 college students and workers members at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty in Parkland 4 years in the past was. In entrance of the courtroom room.
Chief Prosecutor Mike Saitz Fires Black Semi-Computerized Smith And took Wesson out of a cardboard field to Broward Sheriff’s Sergeant. Gloria Crespo, who mentioned it was discovered within the stairwell of the third flooring after the February 14, 2018 bloodbath. Movies seen by jurors earlier confirmed Cruz carrying it on touchdown along with his backpack and black shooter’s vest that he wore earlier than escaping from faculty.
The protection objected to the introduction of the weapon, saying it lacked relevance with out rationalization and was unfairly prejudicial. The protection additionally objected to Sutz putting the gun on the ground behind him within the eyes of the jurors, moderately than putting it on the proof desk. Circuit Decide Elizabeth Shire dismissed the objections.
David S. Weinstein, a Miami legal protection lawyer and former prosecutor who shouldn’t be concerned within the case, mentioned the protection believes that since Cruz pleaded responsible, the gun and different proof akin to surveillance movies and images of the crime scene are not related. will not be and serve to impress the emotions of the judges.
Prosecutors have efficiently argued that such proof is critical to show murders that contain no less than one aggravating issue akin to in a brutal or heinous method or in the middle of against the law that might have put many lives in danger. Is.
Crespo additionally testified that 19-year-old Cruz had 5 gun magazines in his vest, holding a complete of 160 bullets. He fired greater than 100 photographs whereas staring on the three-story constructing for seven minutes, firing in hallways and lecture rooms. The previous Stoneman Douglas pupil, who had been expelled a yr earlier, injured 17 along with 14 college students and three workers members.
Jury members have been additionally proven pictures wherein Crespo took the our bodies of 5 college students and a instructor who had died on the third flooring, all shot at shut vary, and pictures have been taken from three autopsies. They weren’t proven within the gallery, the place many mother and father and relations sat, however have been later proven privately to journalists. Since most mass shooters die throughout their assaults and will not be prosecuted, it’s uncommon that such pictures are seen exterior of legislation enforcement.
Crime scene images present two women and a boy mendacity lifeless subsequent to one another in a hallway, a Valentine’s Day stuffed animal subsequent to a lady’s head. A boy mendacity close by was shot 12 bullets together with 4 within the head. His post-mortem images confirmed deep wounds on his cranium and shoulder – as proven, a feminine juror wiping away tears.
The mother and father of a boy and the spouse of a workers member wept as docs mentioned the post-mortem of their member of the family. Members of different households held his arms and stroked his shoulders, then hugged him because the session ended.
The demonstration got here three days after jurors witnessed their first graphic crime scene and post-mortem. The protection additionally objected to the pictures being proven, saying they have been pointless and solely meant to incite the anger of the jurors.
Earlier on Monday, a seven-man and five-female jury and 10 of their alternates heard from Laura Zecchini, an Uber driver whom Cruise employed to take her to high school. He mentioned he appeared nervous throughout the 13-minute trip and had a big black soft-sided carrying case. Cruz instructed Zecchini that he was going to his music classes.
Cruz pleaded responsible to 17 counts of first-degree homicide in October, so the jury will solely determine whether or not to condemn him to loss of life or life with out parole.
His is the deadliest mass capturing in US historical past to succeed in trial. Along with Cruz, 9 American gunmen, who killed no less than 17 individuals, have been killed by suicide or police bullets throughout or shortly after their shootings. Suspect within the tenth, 2019 homicide of 23 individuals awaits trial at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
When jurors lastly discover the case, presumably in October or November, they may vote 17 instances, as soon as for every sufferer, on whether or not to suggest the loss of life penalty.
For every loss of life sentence, the jury should be unanimous or the sentence for that sufferer is life. Juries are instructed that so as to vote for loss of life, the prosecution’s dire circumstances for that sufferer should, in its judgment, “exceed” the protection’s suppressors. A juror can now additionally vote for all times in mercy for Cruz, 23. Throughout jury choice, the panelists mentioned below oath that they have been in a position to vote for any sentencing.
Related Press author Frida Frisaro in Fort Lauderdale contributed to this report.