florida jury recommends life in prison for parkland school shooter

A Florida jury on Thursday recommended that Nikolas Cruz be sentenced to life in prison for killing 17 people at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018.

The jury reached the decision on its second day of deliberations in a trial that lasted about three months.

Cruz pleaded guilty to murder last year. Prosecutors urged the 12-member jury to recommend the death sentence for the 24-year-old, while Cruz’s lawyers asked for life in prison. A death sentence would have required a unanimous decision from the jury.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz is shown during Thursday’s trial.
Pool via Getty Images

Cruz was described by reporters in the courtroom as showing little emotion after learning his fate, while family members of the victims audibly cried while exiting the room.

Cruz’s defense team had argued that he should be spared death due to his difficult childhood and his mental and emotional issues. They also said he suffered from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which they blamed for his at times violent behavior and developmental problems.

Prosecutors argued that Cruz faked brain damage during testing and that his swift and easy handling of an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle during the attack disproved that he suffers any neurological disorders, as his attorneys claimed.

This was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history to reach trial.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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