A jury in Florida has rejected the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 people in a 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. On Thursday, Cruz was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, after a single juror refused to recommend a death sentence. Under Florida law, death penalty cases require a unanimous decision. The life sentence drew angry reactions from family members who packed the courtroom. This is Ilan Marc Alhadeff, whose daughter Alyssa was among Cruz’s victims.
Dr. Ilan Marc Alhadeff: “I’m disgusted with the system, that you can allow 17 dead and 17 others shot and wounded, and not give the death penalty. What do we have the death penalty for? What is the purpose of it?”
Some Parkland survivors were against capital punishment. Cameron Kasky, who was 17 and a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas at the time of the attack, said, “The death penalty is barbaric and implementing state violence will not bring any of the victims back.” He added, “make no mistake: it’s the politicians who support the gun lobby that should be held accountable for this.”