florida parkland school shooter nikolas cruz sentenced to life in prison

Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz has been sentenced Wednesday to life in prison after pleading guilty to killing 14 students and three staff members during 2018’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

The punishment handed down to the Florida 24-year-old comes following two days of emotional and fiery impact statements from the families of the victims, who told Cruz he will “burn in hell” and “die as nothing.” 

Judge Elizabeth Scherer sentenced Cruz to 17 life terms for the victims he killed, and another 17 for the people who he attempted to kill.

“I know you are going to be OK, because you have each other,” Scherer said to the families of those who died in the attack, as well as those wounded who testified during the trial.

PARKLAND FAMILY MEMBERS CONFRONT NIKOLAS CRUZ IN EMOTIONAL SENTENCING HEARING 

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz sits at the defense table during his sentencing hearing at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022.  (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Pool)

In mid-October, a Broward County, Florida, jury recommended that Cruz should get life in prison but not the death penalty for the killings. The jury had failed to reach a unanimous verdict on a recommendation for the death penalty on all counts.   

“I think that if you have a death penalty at all, that that is a case, where you’re massacring those students, with premeditation and utter disregard for humanity, that you deserve the death penalty,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at the time. 

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The sentencing hearing for Parkland, Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz began Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, with emotional victim impact statements, where Cruz was confronted directly by those affected by the mass killing.

The sentencing hearing for Parkland, Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz began Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, with emotional victim impact statements, where Cruz was confronted directly by those affected by the mass killing. (WSVN)

Cruz pleaded guilty last year to the murders of 14 students and three staff members at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018 – a date that he said he picked so the school would never celebrate Valentine’s Day again. 

The victims in the Parkland mass shooting were Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, Scott Beigel, 35, Martin Duque, 14, Nicholas Dworet, 17, Aaron Feis, 37, Jaime Guttenberg, 14, Chris Hixon, 49, Luke Hoyer, 15, Cara Loughran, 14, Gina Montalto, 14, Joaquin Oliver, 17, Alaina Petty, 14, Meadow Pollack, 18, Helena Ramsey, 17, Alex Schachter, 14, Carmen Schentrup, 16, and Peter Wang, 15. 

Fox News’ Bradford Betz, Louis Casiano, Stephen Sorace and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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