Jury proven AR-15 rifle Parkland college shooter used

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Jurors within the penalty trial of Florida college shooter Nikolas Cruz received their first view Monday of the AR-15-style rifle he used to homicide 17 college students and workers members 4 years in the past at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College, staring intently because it was carried to the entrance of the courtroom.

Lead prosecutor Mike Satz eliminated the black semi-automatic Smith & Wesson from a cardboard field and carried it to Broward sheriff’s Sgt. Gloria Crespo, who stated it was discovered on the touchdown of a third-floor stairwell. Video seen by jurors beforehand confirmed Cruz positioned it there together with the black shooter’s vest he had been carrying earlier than fleeing the varsity.

The protection objected to the weapon’s introduction, saying with out clarification that it lacked relevance and was unfairly prejudicial. The protection additionally objected to Satz putting the gun on the ground behind him in straightforward view of the jurors as an alternative of putting it on an proof desk away from them. Circuit Courtroom Decide Elizabeth Scherer rejected the objections.

David S. Weinstein, a Miami legal protection legal professional and former prosecutor who shouldn’t be concerned within the case, stated the protection believes that because the shooter pleaded responsible, the gun and different proof similar to surveillance video and crime scene pictures are not related and serve to inflame the jurors’ feelings.

Prosecutors have efficiently argued that such proof is critical to show the murders included no less than one aggravating issue similar to being dedicated in a merciless or heinous method or throughout a criminal offense that endangered the lives of many individuals.

Crespo additionally testified that the then-19-year-old had 5 gun magazines remaining within the vest, containing 160 complete bullets. He had fired greater than 100 pictures as he stalked the three-story constructing for seven minutes, firing down hallways and into school rooms. The previous Stoneman Douglas scholar, who had been expelled a yr earlier, wounded 17 along with the 14 college students and three workers members.

Inside a vest pocket, Cruz, now 23, additionally had a police identification card his late father had been issued by a New York division. Roger Cruz died when his son was 5, succumbing to a coronary heart assault in entrance of him. Prosecutors didn’t say if Roger Cruz had been a police officer or if it have been another sort of ID.

The jurors additionally have been proven pictures Crespo took of the our bodies of 5 college students and a trainer who died on the third ground, all with a number of wounds from being shot at shut vary. These weren’t proven to the gallery, the place a number of dad and mom and relations sat. Final week, jurors noticed their first graphic crime scene and post-mortem pictures.

Earlier Monday, the seven-man and five-woman jury and their 10 alternates heard from Uber driver Laura Zecchini, whom Cruz employed to drive him to the varsity. She stated he appeared nervous in the course of the 13-minute experience and was carrying a big black soft-sided carrying case. Cruz advised Zecchini he was going to his music lesson.

Cruz pleaded responsible in October to 17 counts of first-degree homicide, so the jury will solely resolve if he’s sentenced to dying or life with out parole.

His is the deadliest mass capturing in U.S. historical past to achieve trial. 9 different U.S. gunmen who killed no less than 17 individuals died throughout or instantly after their shootings, both by suicide or police gunfire. The suspect in a tenth, the 2019 slaying of 23 individuals at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, is awaiting trial.

When jurors ultimately get the case, in all probability in October or November, they may vote 17 instances, as soon as for every of the victims, on whether or not to suggest capital punishment.

For every dying sentence, the jury should be unanimous or the sentence for that sufferer is life. The jurors are advised that to vote for dying, the prosecution’s aggravating circumstances for that sufferer should, of their judgment, “outweigh” the protection’s mitigators. A juror also can vote for all times out of mercy for Cruz. Throughout jury choice, the panelists stated below oath that they’re able to voting for both sentence.

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