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Jury deciding Parkland gunman’s fate to tour Marjory Stoneman Douglas halls where he wrought his carnage

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 8/3/2022 Theresa Braine

The jury deciding whether Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz lives or dies will tour the high school where he wrought his carnage as they mull the fate of the young gunman whose actions stole 17 lives on Valentine’s Day 2018.

They will follow the route he took through the halls and classrooms of the 1200 building of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as he killed 14 students and three teachers, and wounded 17 others.

Jennifer Montalto holds a picture of her daughter, Gina, before giving her victim impact statement during the penalty phase of the trial of Nikolas Cruz in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday. © Amy Beth Bennett Jennifer Montalto holds a picture of her daughter, Gina, before giving her victim impact statement during the penalty phase of the trial of Nikolas Cruz in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday.

Jennifer Montalto holds a picture of her daughter, Gina, before giving her victim impact statement during the penalty phase of the trial of Nikolas Cruz in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday. (Amy Beth Bennett/)

The entire building, knowns as the freshman building, has been preserved as a crime scene with just such a tour in mind, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported. The jury will make their way through Cruz’s route, now marked by bloodstains and bullet holes, according to the Miami Herald.

Cruz, now 23, has pleaded guilty in confessing that he is the one who strode into the building that day, assembled an AR-15 style rifle, and opened fire.


Video: Lead prosecutor focuses on Parkland school shooter’s brutality during Monday’s opening statements (CBS Miami)

Lead prosecutor focuses on Parkland school shooter’s brutality during Monday’s opening statements
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The jury has already viewed video of the massacre and seen the gun he used.

They are scheduled to trace Cruz’s path as he roamed the hallways and stairwells so they can see where students both died and hid. The prosecution says it’s necessary for the jury to understand the crime, and the victims’ terror, the Sun Sentinel said.

“This is the crime scene that he chose,” prosecutor Jeff Marcus said.

Cruz waived his legal right to accompany them.

School won’t be in session, so the campus will be empty. Jurors will be unescorted, wear shoe coverings and be instructed to use their visit to help them analyze the evidence. But they can’t touch anything, take pictures or discuss their observations with each other.

The building has not been used since the shooting. Sometime after the tour, the building will be demolished.

Also this week at the trial, parents and other family members of those killed in the shooting gave victim-impact statements in heart-rending accounts of lives lost, of weddings and graduations that will never happen, of grandchildren who won’t be born.

The jury is determining whether Cruz gets life in prison without parole, or the death penalty.

With News Wire Services

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