Families of FL School Shooting Victims Will Be Allowed to Testify

Families of FL School Shooting Victims Will Be Allowed to Testify

(TheRedWire.com) – On February 14, 2018, then-19-year-old Nicolas Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and started shooting. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, court officials delayed the trial. In October 2021, Cruz pleaded guilty to murdering 17 victims. A jury won’t even be selected until February or March to determine if Cruz will face capital punishment or life in prison.

On Monday, December 13, public defenders requested the judge curtail victim testimonies to prevent families from testifying about the trauma the murders brought into their lives. Cruz’s attorneys suggested it would be better to have victims video record testimony or have a neutral third party read their impact statements to avoid a violation of the defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial.

Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer shot down the requests and sought a middle ground. The judge agreed with prosecutors who said family victims would write their testimony in advance and provide it to Cruz’s attorneys ahead of time. The process will allow the defense to object if it believes something is unfairly inflammatory. Prosecutors said they would not let a victim take the stand and say something that could put a death sentence in jeopardy.

The 12-member jury must unanimously agree to a death sentence. If only one disagrees, Cruz will get life in prison.

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