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Death Penalty Trial: Sentencing Phase Underway for Nikolas Cruz in 2018 FL Multiple Murders - Page 22
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Thread: Death Penalty Trial: Sentencing Phase Underway for Nikolas Cruz in 2018 FL Multiple Murders

  1. #211
    Senior Member CnCP Addict maybeacomedian's Avatar
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    Entire panel of jurors released when 8 distraught people balk at deciding fate of confessed Parkland killer

    - By Brittany Wallman & Rafael Olmeda, South Florida Sun Sentinel | April 11, 2022 -

    A judge dismissed an entire panel of 60 jurors Monday afternoon after too many became visibly upset at the prospect of deciding the fate of the Parkland mass shooter.

    Eight potential jurors seven women and one man were escorted from the courtroom when they could not contain their emotional reaction to learning they might be picked to serve on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting case.

    With confessed killer Nikolas Cruz in the same courtroom, just a few yards away, one prospective juror after another left in tears .the first woman to leave could be heard loudly crying as soon as she left the courtroom. Subsequent jurors held back tears, or sniffled, their faces distraught.

    Cruz himself appeared to have an emotional response to the display, dropping his head and looking away from the panel momentarily before facing them again.

    Judge Elizabeth Scherer said shed dismiss the pool of 60 jurors, who still could be used in other trials, and start fresh. The raw emotion had tainted the jury pool, she said.

    While this was not the first time potential jurors let their emotions get the best of them in Cruzs presence, it was the most extreme case. Before Tuesday afternoon, Scherer was able to keep the process moving by having emotional jurors removed and questioned later in the day, outside the presence of other jurors.

    Last fall, before he pleaded guilty to the 17 murders, Cruz was set to go on trial for assaulting a detention deputy who was guarding him at the Broward main jail. That trial was set to begin last October, and a handful of potential jurors had similar emotional reactions to seeing Cruz, who later pleaded guilty to that charge as well.

    The current trial is in its fourth day of jury pre-selection. The upcoming trial, scheduled to run through the summer, is to determine whether a jury will recommend a sentence of life in prison or death for Cruz, who pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in connection with the Valentines Day 2018 mass shooting.

    A new panel was brought into the courtroom less than an hour after the earlier one was removed.

    https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news...my4-story.html
    https://archive.ph/nhEkX *Archived link gets around paywall*


  2. #212
    Senior Member CnCP Addict maybeacomedian's Avatar
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    Confusion reigns as school shooter's jury selection moves on

    - By Terry Spencer & Curt Anderson, Associated Press | April 15, 2022 -

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) Confusion reigned as jury selection in the death penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz concluded its second week with no immediate end in sight.

    Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer, presiding over her first death penalty case, united prosecutors and defense attorneys in protest over her plans for concluding the lengthy process of picking the panel that will decide if Cruz is executed for killing 17 people at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day 2018.

    That confusion and other issues mean opening statements in Cruz's penalty trial, already delayed two years by the COVID-19 pandemic and legal battles, likely will move from May 31 to mid- or late June.

    Scherer took the blame for the confusion late Wednesday afternoon but also expressed frustration with the attorneys. Jury selection is being conducted Mondays through Wednesdays only with next week off to give both sides time to depose expert witnesses expected to testify.

    I apologize if I didn't do it the way you all wanted, said Scherer, a judge for 10 years. Still, she said, In what universe does it take three months for jury selection?"

    But that process might get even longer. Earlier this month, Scherer summarily dismissed 11 potential jurors who answered no when she asked their group of 60 if they could follow the law a question she hadn't asked any previous panel. The defense protested that she hadn't questioned each individually to assure they meant what they said. Those jurors have received summonses ordering their return April 25, but if any don't, the defense might seek a mistrial. If granted, jury selection would start anew, delaying the trial further.

    I won't make that mistake again, Scherer told the attorneys.

    Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty in October to murdering 14 students and three staff members during a five-minute rampage through a three-story classroom building.

    Scherer and the attorneys are picking a panel of 12 jurors and eight alternates for a four-month trial that will determine if he is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole. They will weigh whether the prosecution's aggravating factors such as the multiple deaths, Cruz's planning and his cruelty outweigh mitigating factors such as his lifelong mental health problems, possible fetal alcohol syndrome and the early deaths of his adoptive parents.

    Robert Jarvis, a professor at Nova Southeastern University's law school near Fort Lauderdale, said he understands Scherer feels pressure to complete the trial, but speed cannot be a priority.

    Because Cruz admitted hes the killer, much of the public doesnt understand what there is to talk about and why the case is still going, Jarvis said. A more experienced judge would have realized that this was always going to be a very long process.

    Any mistakes Scherer makes throughout the trial could be a basis for a Cruz death sentence being overturned, meaning a second penalty trial would be needed years from now.

    Melisa McNeill, Cruz's lead public defender, told Scherer: If we do it right, we do it once. Prosecutors made similar statements.

    David Weinstein, a Miami defense attorney and former prosecutor, said Cruz's attorneys are banking Scherer's mistakes for a potential appeal. Individually, they might not be enough to overturn a death sentence, but they add up.

    If it is one or two small things, that is not going to do it. But 15 or 20 small things that pile on top of another and that creates a bigger thing, that could do it, he said. Each error creates more opportunity.

    The scale of Cruz's killings, the extensive local media coverage and the trial's length are requiring an extra large pool of prospective jurors. The case is the deadliest U.S. mass shooting to make it to trial seven other shooters who killed at least 17 died during or shortly after their attacks either by suicide or police gunfire. The man accused of killing 23 at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart in 2019 is awaiting trial.

    More than 1,200 potential jurors have been screened since April 4, with about 250 passing the first hurdle: Can they serve from June through September? Another 700 or more are likely to be screened starting April 25.

    Potential jurors who can serve fill out a lengthy questionnaire about their backgrounds, knowledge of the case and views on the death penalty. Scherer told them they could be brought back twice for further questioning in May.

    Both prosecutors and the defense thought that meant that at the next session, the potential jurors would be asked about the questionnaire. Those who passed that hurdle would be brought back for deeper questioning to determine if they can be fair and havent made up their minds whether Cruz should be executed.

    But Scherer told the attorneys she envisioned bringing potential jurors back just once, in groups of about 30 one group each morning, another each afternoon.

    The attorneys said that wasn't enough time for each group. In death penalty cases, they told her, it is not unusual for individual questioning of a potential juror to take 10 or 15 minutes instead of the two or three in many trials.

    It cannot be done quickly if it is done correctly, prosecutor Carolyn McCann told Scherer.

    Appearing exhausted and resigned to another delay, Scherer ended the session. She said she would issue a new schedule soon.

    There comes a time when it is going to have to be what it is, she said. It can't go on like this.

    https://www.timesunion.com/news/arti...y-17083526.php
    https://archive.ph/V9rw2

  3. #213
    Senior Member CnCP Addict maybeacomedian's Avatar
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    Deputies surround Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz after courtroom threat from potential juror

    A 70-person juror pool was dismissed after the incident

    - By Ronn Blitzer | Fox News| April 27, 2022 -

    What appeared to be a threat from a member of the jury pool led officers to surround and protect Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz out of concern that the incident could turn violent.

    A group of 70 prospective jurors for Cruzs sentencing trial were filing into a Broward County, Florida, courtroom after a lunch break on Tuesday when Cruzs lawyers notified bailiffs of the actions of one of the jurors. According to The Associated Press, the man had been mouthing profanity at Cruz, leading bailiffs to remove him.

    The juror shook his head while repeating "thats horrible." The commotion then led other jurors to get "excited," Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Scherer said. As he was being led out of the courtroom, the juror looked back at Cruz, causing deputies to grab the defendant and surround him.

    "One instigates and then there are many followers," Broward Sheriffs Captain Osvaldo Tianga, who heads the courthouses security, told the AP.

    Cruzs lawyer Melisa McNeill, meanwhile, said that while she "appreciate[s] that is the job," she questioned whether it was necessary for deputies to grab her client instead of just standing in front of him.

    After the chaos subsided, Judge Scherer met with attorneys from both sides before deciding to dismiss the entire 70-person pool. The judge said deputies followed them out of the building to make sure they did not say anything to influence other prospective jurors who were still awaiting their turns.

    Scherer said some dismissed jurors "got mouthy" toward the officers as they were being led out.

    Cruz pleaded guilty in October to murdering 17 people in 2018 at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A jury is now being selected for a trial that will determine whether Cruz is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.


    Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz waits for prospective jurors to enter the courtroom during the penalty phase of his trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

    Jury selection began April 4 and has seen its share of controversies. Early on, one female juror explained to the judge that she was not sure if the trial expected to go from June through September fit her planned schedule, as she has upcoming family birthdays, and said, "I have my sugar daddy that I see every day."

    "Im not exactly sure what youre talking about," Scherer said, prompting the woman to explain, "Im married, and I have my sugar daddy," who she sees "every day."

    She was eventually dismissed.

    On Monday, Scherer dismissed 250 prospective jurors and restarted jury selection due to her own possible error.

    Out of the hundreds of potential jurors, 12 will be selected for the panel, in addition to eight alternates.

    https://www.foxnews.com/us/deputies-...otential-juror
    https://archive.ph/uimb3

  4. #214
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    Five Broward death penalty cases this summer include Parkland shooter, YNW Melly and three other accused killers

    By Rafael Olmeda
    Sun Sentinel

    TAMARAC — The summer of 2022 will be capital punishment season at the Broward courthouse, with prosecutors attempting to send five men to Florida’s death row.

    The large number reminds veteran lawyers of a long-ago era when such cases were more common and convicted killers faced the electric chair rather than lethal injection.

    “At one point in the 80s it seemed like every murder-one case was a death penalty case,” said defense lawyer Hilliard Moldof. “I was doing one or two a year. But back then you tried a death penalty case a year from arrest.”

    Defendants include rapper YNW Melly (whose real name is Jamell Demons), accused of gunning down two fellow musicians in Miramar and attempting to cover-up the crime as a drive-by shooting. Another prominent case is that of Parkland school killer Nikolas Cruz.

    Other defendants include Richard Andres and Jonathan Gordon, accused of shooting a Tamarac man in his home, in an attack partly captured on videotape.

    Finally there’s the case of Peter Avsenew, who prosecutors say shot two Wilton Manors men to death and stole their car, credit cards and other belongings, apparently after responding their sexually suggestive ad on Craigslist.

    Multiple factors prolong the pre-trial period of newer death penalty cases, including the sophistication of forensic evidence and mountains of case law outlining mistakes to avoid for lawyers and judges. Another factor is the pandemic that brought normal life to a halt for more than a year.

    “I think a lot of the reason you’re seeing all these cases at once is because of COVID,” said defense lawyer Fred Haddad. “That backlog prevented all those cases from going forward, and the Florida Supreme Court wants them done. They’ve got to get those cases tried.”

    Andres and Gordon, accused of killing the Tamarac man, were ready to go to trial when the pandemic hit. Instead of starting in the spring of 2020, jury selection in the case just got underway this week. The defendants are accused of the 2015 murder of Ivan Brandt, in a crime that was caught on surveillance video.

    According to the investigation, the defendants struggled with the victim, who defended himself with a knife. Police said Andres named Gordon as an accomplice and admitted they went to Brandt’s home to rob him. The suspects’ attorneys deny those allegations and indicated a possible variation of a self-defense strategy in a 2020 interview.

    Jury selection also began Monday for the retrial of Peter Avsenew who was already on death row in January when the Florida Supreme Court overturned his conviction and sent the case back to Broward.

    Avsenew killed a Wilton Manors couple, Kevin Powell, 52, and Stephen Adams, 47, and stole their car in late 2010, according to prosecutors. His mother, who was instrumental in his capture, testified against him at his first trial but died before the start of retrial.

    Attorneys are expecting jury selection in both cases to take about a month. Each case will involve a guilt phase, in which the jury determines whether the defendants committed the crimes, and a penalty phase if the defendants are convicted. In the penalty phase, all 12 jurors must recommend death in order for the defendants to be sent to death row.

    The five defendants facing death at the same time in Broward would have been six if not for last week’s decision to waive the death penalty in the case of Davonte Resiles, who was convicted in March of the 2014 stabbing death of Jill Halliburton Su of Davie.

    In the YNW Melly case, jury selection was scheduled to start last month, but now it’s put off until July 6.

    None of the other cases has attracted nearly as much attention as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas trial. The jury that will decide Cruz’s fate is still being picked, but selection was halted earlier this week when, it appears, three of the lawyers on the case fell ill at the same time.

    The Parkland case is more complex than the others and will take longer at each stage. Jury selection started in April and is expected to go through May and possibly into June because the case is so notorious. And because it involves 17 murdered victims, the judge is telling potential jurors that testimony will last through September.

    There hasn’t been an execution in Florida since 2019, before the pandemic. Since 2000, the busiest year for executions was 2014, with eight. That beat the previous 21st century record, seven in 2013. The last Broward inmate to be executed was Robert Henry in 2014. The next Florida inmate to be executed will be the 100th since the death penalty was found constitutional again in 1972.

    https://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/b...66i-story.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    There are lots of extremely smug and self-satisfied people in what would be deemed lower down in society, who also deserve to be pulled up. In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything.
    - Rowan Atkinson

  5. #215
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    Jury selection for Nikolas Cruz penalty phase resumes Monday

    The jury selection process for the penalty phase for convicted Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is now in week 6 and is set to resume Monday after a 2-week delay.

    Cruz gunned killed 17 people with an AR-15 assault rifle at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentines Day 20-18. 17 other people were injured in the mass shooting.

    There have been several delays in the jury selection for the sentencing phase up to this point.

    State Rep. Michael Gottlieb, a 30-year criminal defense attorney in Broward County, says the judge presiding over this case has already given the defense reasons to appeal if Cruz is eventually sentenced to death.

    "This is just the tip of the iceberg for what is going to be a problematic, plagued trial, said Gottlieb.

    He says the moment Broward County Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Scherer dismissed 11 prospective jurors in April without allowing both sides to speak with the group, an appeal following a possible death sentence verdict became inevitable. Scherer dismissed those prospective jurors after they said they could not follow the law.

    Last week, when the dismissed prospective jurors were called back to the court, he says the defense was given another reason to appeal down the road.

    "I dont think you can walk that back and say, Were going to bring those jurors back, because once theyve broken the sanctity of being on the venire, you dont know who theyve spoke to, what information they got, whether or not they surfed the internet, said Gottlieb. "When you excuse them, those rules are waived so when those jurors went home, whether its for 12 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours or whatever length of time they were home, they could have violated any one of those admonitions from the court and thats problematic because theyre then considering things they arent hearing in court and a juror should never decide the fate of the case on things theyve heard outside the courtroom.

    Looking at it as a defense attorney, you always want to have a flawed process because you want to have the ability to file an appeal and say there was fundamental error.

    "From a defendants perspective, you want to continue to make those mistrial motions claiming that theres error or proving that theres error, for the purposes of preserving your record on appeal."

    The court proceedings have also been delayed another two weeks after Cruz attorney Melisa McNeill was absent from court for two days for an undisclosed reason.

    These delays have caused Scherer to push back the timeline for this trial, as she now says she expects it to last through October.

    Once those jurors are selected, they will have to decide if Cruz should be executed for the 2018 massacre or if he should serve life in prison without the possibility of parole. Cruz will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole if a possible death sentence verdict is not unanimous.

    (source: WPBF news)
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    There are lots of extremely smug and self-satisfied people in what would be deemed lower down in society, who also deserve to be pulled up. In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything.
    - Rowan Atkinson

  6. #216
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    Defense attorneys in Florida school shooting try to withdraw

    The public defenders representing Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz tried to withdraw from his death penalty trial Monday after the judge ordered them to move forward with jury selection even though 1 member of their 5-member team is sick with COVID-19.

    Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer rejected the withdrawal motion by Cruzs lead attorney, Melisa McNeill, who said she might return Monday afternoon with a motion to dismiss the judge from the trial as being unfair.

    The defense also filed a motion to delay Cruzs trial indefinitely, saying the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 21 dead has reawakened emotions in Broward County over Cruzs murder of 17 at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Feb. 14, 2018. They said that shooting makes it impossible for him to get a fair trial currently. Scherer did not rule on that motion.

    Judge Scherer and McNeill heatedly argued Monday over the judges insistence that jury selection move forward without the presence of Casey Secor, a South Carolina death penalty defense specialist who is assisting McNeill. Scherer said Secor could watch the proceedings on a video link and communicate with McNeill by phone or text message.

    Scherer accused McNeill of trying to intentionally provide ineffectual counsel to Cruz by saying her team would not participate without Secor. At one point, Scherer recessed the hearing, telling McNeill to consult the Florida Bar over what sanctions she might face if she and her team refused to participate. She said four attorneys present for Cruz in the courtroom was enough.

    We are moving forward, Scherer said.

    But McNeill told the judge she was the one creating grounds for a successful appeal of ineffectual defense counsel by insisting that jury selection move forward without Secor, who McNeill said has special expertise in that area. McNeill said that more than half of successful death penalty appeals are over issues that arise during jury selection. If Cruz is sentenced to death, a successful appeal would result in a retrial several years from now.

    These (victims) families do not need to be coming back to this courtroom, McNeill said. She also said Scherers threat to sanction her created a conflict between her obligation to provide Cruz with the best defense possible and her obligation to her career and family not to endanger her law license.

    Prosecutors found themselves in the middle. They originally agreed with the defense to delay the jury selection until Secor returned, but then told the judge she would be on solid legal ground if she decided to move forward without Secor. Scherer then adjourned court until later Monday afternoon.

    Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of first-degree murder. The court for two months has been trying to pick 12 jurors and eight alternates for a 4-month trial that will decide whether he is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.

    Jury selection, which originally had been scheduled to be concluded by mid-May, has slogged along, including a two-week delay when McNeill was sick with COVID-19.

    An original pool of about 1,800 potential jurors has been whittled down to about 300 with the process in Phase 2 of 3. After being simply asked during Phase 1 whether their jobs and lives would allow them to serve for 4 months, the potential jurors are now being asked in Phase 2 their opinions on the death penalty and whether they can be fair to Cruz.

    Phase 3, whenever that begins, would involve individualized questioning. Scherer is hoping to have 150 potential jurors for that phase, but right now only 35 have advanced out of Phase 2 with about 80 having been rejected.

    (source: Washington Post)
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    There are lots of extremely smug and self-satisfied people in what would be deemed lower down in society, who also deserve to be pulled up. In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything.
    - Rowan Atkinson

  7. #217
    Senior Member CnCP Addict maybeacomedian's Avatar
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    Final jury selection underway for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz penalty trial

    - By Associated Press, CBS News Miami | June 28, 2022 -


    FORT LAUDERDALE The final phase in the selection of 12 jurors who will decide whether Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz should receive the death sentence got underway Tuesday, the conclusion of a nearly three-month effort that began with 1,800 candidates.

    The dozen jurors and eight alternates will be winnowed down from 53 candidates by prosecutors and defense attorneys. Each side can try to persuade Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that a particular candidate is biased. If she disagrees, each side also will have at least 10 peremptory challenges where they can eliminate candidates for any reason except race or gender.

    The jury will decide whether Cruz, 23, receives the death sentence or life in prison without parole for the murders of 14 students and three staff members at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018. Cruz pleaded guilty in October to those murders and 17 counts of attempted murder, so the jurors will only decide his punishment. They must be unanimous for Cruz to get the death penalty - if at least one votes for life, that will be Cruz's sentence.

    The final pool survived three rounds of questioning that began April 4. Jury selection had been expected to take about a month but was beset by numerous delays because of sickness and other factors.

    The panel will have a task never faced by a U.S. jury - no American mass shooter who killed at least 17 people has ever made it to trial. Nine others died during or immediately after their shooting attacks, killed either by police or themselves. The suspect in the 2019 slaying of 23 at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, is awaiting trial.

    In the first phase of jury selection, the prospective panelists were simply asked if their employment and life circumstances would allow them to serve the four months the trial is expected to last. About 80% were eliminated because their employers wouldn't pay them, they are self-employed, or they had school obligations or vacations planned.

    In the second phase, the 300 remaining panelists were asked their opinions on the death penalty and whether they could be fair to Cruz. Finally, about 85 were asked about their lives and work histories, whether they could stomach seeing gruesome crime scene and autopsy photos and even if they play violent video games and believe white people have advantages in society not available to racial minorities.

    The selection process was upended several times. One day, the sheriff's deputies who guard the courtroom thought some potential jurors were about to attack Cruz and pulled him to safety as they quickly removed the threatening panelists. On another day, Scherer had to dismiss a group of potential jurors because one wore a T-shirt referencing the shooting that supported the victims and survivors. Selection also was delayed for two weeks when lead defense attorney Melisa McNeill contracted COVID-19.

    The jurors will be exposed to graphic evidence, including crime scene and autopsy photos and tour the three-story classroom building where Cruz methodically stalked the halls, shooting at anyone in front of him and into classrooms. It has not been cleaned since the shooting and remains bloodstained and bullet-pocked, with Valentine's Day gifts strewn about.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/miami/news/f...penalty-trial/
    https://archive.ph/bFuJ9

  8. #218
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    Jury is chosen to decide Florida school shooters sentence

    By Associated Press

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) A jury of seven men and five women was tentatively chosen Tuesday for a penalty trial to decide whether Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz should be sentenced to death or get life in prison for the 2018 attack, capping a nearly three-month winnowing process that began with 1,800 candidates.

    The jurors were picked from a final group of 53 candidates by prosecutors and defense attorneys. Those chosen survived three rounds of questioning that began on April 4 and dragged on through numerous delays caused by illnesses and other factors. Eight of 10 alternates were selected before Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer adjourned late Tuesday.

    The jury will be finalized Wednesday. Both sides still have peremptory challenges that could change the main panels final makeup the defense has two and the prosecution has six.

    The jury will decide whether Cruz, 23, receives the death sentence or life in prison without parole for the murders of 14 students and three staff members at Parklands Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018. Opening statements, originally expected in May, are now scheduled for July 18.

    Cruz pleaded guilty in October to those murders and 17 counts of attempted murder, so the jurors will only decide his punishment. They must be unanimous for Cruz to get the death penalty if at least one votes for life, that will be Cruzs sentence.

    The jurors currently on the main panel are two banking executives and two technology workers, a probation officer, a human resources professional and a Walmart store stock supervisor. Also included are a librarian, a medical claims adjuster, a legal assistant, a customs officer and a retired insurance executive. The defense used a late peremptory challenge as alternates were being chosen to remove a retired health care executive who had originally been seated on the main panel.

    At least five currently seated are gun owners.

    The panel will have a task never faced by a U.S. jury no American mass shooter who killed at least 17 people has ever made it to trial. Nine others died during or immediately after their shooting attacks, killed either by police or themselves. The suspect in the 2019 slaying of 23 at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, is awaiting trial.

    In the first phase of jury selection, the prospective panelists were simply asked if their employment and life circumstances would allow them to serve the four months the trial is expected to last. About 80% were eliminated because their employers wouldnt pay them, they are self-employed, or they had school obligations or vacations planned.

    In the second phase, the 300 remaining panelists were asked their opinions on the death penalty and whether they could be fair to Cruz. Finally, about 85 were asked about their lives and work histories, whether they could stomach seeing gruesome crime scene and autopsy photos and even if they play violent video games and believe white people have advantages in society not available to racial minorities.

    The selection process was upended several times. One day, the sheriffs deputies who guard the courtroom thought some potential jurors were about to attack Cruz and pulled him to safety as they quickly removed the threatening panelists. On another day,

    Scherer had to dismiss a group of potential jurors because one wore a T-shirt referencing the shooting that supported the victims and survivors. Selection also was delayed for two weeks when lead defense attorney Melisa McNeill contracted COVID-19.

    The jurors will be exposed to graphic evidence, including crime scene and autopsy photos and tour the three-story classroom building where Cruz methodically stalked the halls, shooting at anyone in front of him and into classrooms. It has not been cleaned since the shooting and remains bloodstained and bullet-pocked, with Valentines Day gifts strewn about.

    https://www.wagmtv.com/2022/06/28/ju...ters-sentence/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    There are lots of extremely smug and self-satisfied people in what would be deemed lower down in society, who also deserve to be pulled up. In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything.
    - Rowan Atkinson

  9. #219
    Senior Member CnCP Addict maybeacomedian's Avatar
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    Tamara Curtis, working at the hands of taxpayers while ironically giving live cameras the middle finger (at timestamp 2:17:43 in video below). Very professional look for the defense!


  10. #220
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    Emotional testimony, graphic video mark first day of sentencing trial for Nikolas Cruz

    By Ari Hait
    WPBF News

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. The first day of the sentencing trial for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz opened Monday with emotional testimony and gut-wrenching videos of the shooting.

    Prosecutors started by presenting their opening statement, promising the jury they would show Cruz planned the attack and wanted to kill students.

    Lead prosecutor Mike Satz quoted Cruz from a video Cruz made three days before the massacre.

    Hello, my name is Nick, Satz said. Im going to be the next shooter of 2018.

    The jury then heard from three witnesses, a teacher and two students. All three were in a classroom when Cruz opened fire.

    I heard what I describe as the loudest noise that you can possibly imagine, said teacher Brittany Sinitch, who said she hid behind her desk with her students.

    We were just sitting, kind of like sitting ducks, said Danielle Gilbert, a student at the time. We had no way to protect ourselves, no way to stand up for ourselves.

    Eventually, the shooter started shooting the window, and bullets were flying through, said Dylan Kraemer, also a student at the time.

    Almost instantly, I called 911, just out of instinct, Sinitch said. They couldnt hear me over the sound of the gunshots.

    And I looked over, and two people were dead, and multiple people were shot, Kraemer said.

    During Gilberts testimony, prosecutors played a video she had recorded on her phone during the shooting.

    The courtroom was pierced with the sound of gunshots and students screaming and calling for help.

    Many of the victims family members were sobbing in the gallery while the videos played. Others got up and walked out of the courtroom.

    A similar video was played during Kraemer's testimony.

    Cruz sat with his head in his hands as he watched and listened to himself shoot 34 people, killing 17.

    After the videos aired, the defense asked the judge to declare a mistrial, saying the families emotions had tainted the jury.

    They specifically pointed to one person in the gallery who some heard saying, Turn it off. Turn it off.

    The judge quickly denied the defenses motion. Cruz has already pleaded guilty to the shooting.

    This trial is to determine if he will face the death penalty or serve life in prison. The trial is expected to take months to complete.

    It is set to continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

    https://www.wpbf.com/article/emotion...-cruz/40645882
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    There are lots of extremely smug and self-satisfied people in what would be deemed lower down in society, who also deserve to be pulled up. In a proper free society, you should be allowed to make jokes about absolutely anything.
    - Rowan Atkinson

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