CNN) – Closing arguments began Tuesday morning in the sentencing trial of the Parkland school shooter — the last opportunity for prosecutors and defense attorneys to make their case before the jury that will help decide whether the gunman is sentenced to death or life in prison.
The imminent conclusion of the monthslong trial comes almost a year after Nikolas Cruz, 24, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the February 14, 2018, massacre at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which 14 students and three school staff members were killed.

Jury deliberations are expected to begin Wednesday, during which time jurors will be sequestered, per Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer.

Prosecutors, who are seeking the death penalty, have argued Cruz’s decision to commit the deadliest mass shooting at an American high school was premeditated and calculated and not, as the defense has suggested, related to any mental disorders or developmental delays.Defense team unexpectedly rests its case in death penalty trial of Parkland school shooter

The state completed its rebuttal last week, which included video in which Cruz told clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Robert Denney he chose to carry out the shooting on Valentine’s Day because he “felt like no one loved me, and I didn’t like Valentine’s Day and I wanted to ruin it for everyone.”

Denney, who spent more than 400 hours with the gunman, testified for the prosecution he concluded Cruz has borderline personality disorder and anti-social personality disorder, but did not meet the criteria for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, as the defense has contended.

When read the list of names of the 17 people killed and asked if fetal alcohol spectrum disorder explained their murders, Denney responded “no” each time.

The defense, in seeking to present the jury with mitigating circumstances – reasons why Cruz should not be sentenced to death but to life in prison without the possibility of parole – has offered evidence of a lifetime of struggles at home and in school, including being born to a woman who abused drugs and alcohol while she was pregnant with Cruz.

If they choose to recommend a death sentence, the jurors must be unanimous, or Cruz will receive life in prison without the possibility of parole. If the jury does recommend death, the final decision rests with Judge Scherer, who could choose to follow the recommendation or sentence Cruz to life.

Gunman was cold and calculated, prosecutors say

The lengthy trial – jury selection began six months ago, in early April – has seen prosecutors and defense attorneys present evidence of aggravating factors and mitigating circumstances, reasons Cruz should or should not be put to death.

Prosecutors have argued Cruz was “cold, calculative, manipulative and deadly” in carrying out the attack, which lead prosecutor Michael Satz called “planned” and “systematic” in his opening statement in July. The state pointed to seven aggravating factors, he said, including the fact the killings were “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.”



tues oct 11 2022 REmbr… G is, as G can only BE. GOOD

If I didn’t define myself, I’d be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive. audre lorde

amen. so BE it. laff THRU it…yes. in Time.