Parkland school shooter given life after killing 17 in Valentines Day attack

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    The Parkland school shooter who massacred 17 students and staff has been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

    Nikolas Cruz, 24, went on a nine-minute gun rampage at his former school, Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.

    Armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, he left 17 people dead and 17 others injured.

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    He was charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder and pleaded guilty to all charges.

    Today (Wednesday, November 2) Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer issued a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole for each of the 17 counts of murder.

    The courtroom was packed with the relatives of the victims, who were devastated when it was ruled last month that Cruz would not face the death penalty.

    Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for Cruz's "cold, calculated and premeditated" massacre, which they described as "systematic murder".

    But after seven-and-a-half hours of deliberations, a 12-person jury recommended life in prison without parole on October 13.

    Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was among the students killed, said at the time: "I could not be more disappointed in what happened today."

    The parents of victim Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, said they were "disgusted" by the decision.

    Her father Ilan Alhadeff said: "What do we have the death penalty for? What is the purpose of it? This isn’t about personal beliefs. It’s not about your religious values. It’s about the heinous crime that was committed."

    Before handing out the sentencing, Judge Scherer thanked the families for giving their impact statements.

    She said: “The way that you have grieved so gracefully and have shown extraordinary restraint throughout this process is something that I’ve never seen."

    Cruz had been expelled from Stoneman Douglas High School a year before the shooting and signalled his desire to become a school shooter in videos and drawings he made beforehand.

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    He was arrested nearby after mingling with students to get away and buying a drink at a nearby mall.

    Florida has not carried out a death sentence since 2019.


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