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Jurors walk scene of Parkland school shooting ahead of sentencing

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The jury in the sentencing trial of the Parkland school shooter took an unusual step today. Jurors were given a tour of the building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 people. In this penalty phase, jurors will determine whether he should be sentenced to life in prison or receive the death penalty.

The building was sealed off shortly after the shooting to keep the crime scene preserved for more than four years now. Today’s tour is part of the prosecution’s case that Cruz deserves the death penalty. Prosecutors at the Broward State’s Attorney Office in arguing for the death penalty have noted in court documents that the shooting involving an AR-15 rifle was “cold, calculated and premeditated.”

Cruz, a 19-year-old expelled student with a history of mental health and behavioral problems at the time of the shooting, said in his guilty plea he was “very sorry” and asked to be given a chance to help others. The jury must be unanimous to recommend that the Parkland school shooter receive the death penalty. If any of the 12 jurors objects, Cruz will be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The tour down the hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School follows emotional testimony from families of the victims earlier this week. Families who testified want Cruz to receive the death penalty. The mother and grandmother of victim Alyssa Alhadeff took the stand.

“I have outbursts of tears at any time,” Theresa Robinovitz, Alhadeff’s grandmother, said. “Sleepless nights and anger, which has replaced the pure joy of living each day. Each night I go to bed and wrap myself with an extra blanket that I would once cover Alyssa with.”

“As time passes and I continually think about what could have been for Alyssa,” Lori Alhadeff said, “the pain does not subside and the grief does not lessen. I surely would have traded places with her that day if I could have. But the life I now lead is in honor of my Alyssa Miriam Alhadeff, our angel, who will always be remembered and never forgotten.”

Prosecutors were expected to rest their case shortly after the visit. As for the building, it is set to be demolished once the Broward County School District receives approval from prosecutors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

THE JURY IN THE SENTENCING TRIAL OF PARKLAND SCHOOL SHOOTER NIKOLAS CRUZ TOOK AN UNUSUAL STEP TODAY — RETURNING THE SCENE OF THE CRIME.
JURORS WERE GIVEN A TOUR OF THE BUILDING AT MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL WHERE CRUZ SHOT AND KILLED 17 PEOPLE.
THE BUILDING WAS SEALED OFF SHORTLY AFTER THE SHOOTING — KEEPING THE CRIME SCENE PRESERVED FOR MORE THAN FOUR YEARS NOW.
TODAY’S TOUR IS PART OF THE PROSECUTION’S CASE THAT CRUZ DESERVES THE DEATH PENALTY.
IT FOLLOWS EMOTIONAL TESTIMONY FROM FAMILIES OF THE VICTIMS EARLIER THIS WEEK.
[NAME SUPER: THERESA ROBINOVITZ | GRANDMOTHER OF PARKLAND VICTIM]
{“I have outbursts of tears at any time. Sleepless nights and anger, which has replaced the pure joy of living each day. Each night I too go to bed and wrap myself with an extra blanket that I would once cover Alyssa with.”}
PROSECUTORS WERE EXPECTED TO REST THEIR CASE SHORTLY AFTER THE VISIT.
AS FOR THE BUILDING — IT IS SET TO BE DEMOLISHED ONCE THE BROWARD COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT RECEIVES APPROVAL FROM PROSECUTORS.

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The jury in the sentencing trial of the Parkland school shooter took an unusual step today. Jurors were given a tour of the building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 people. In this penalty phase, jurors will determine whether he should be sentenced to life in prison or receive the death penalty.

The building was sealed off shortly after the shooting to keep the crime scene preserved for more than four years now. Today’s tour is part of the prosecution’s case that Cruz deserves the death penalty. Prosecutors at the Broward State’s Attorney Office in arguing for the death penalty have noted in court documents that the shooting involving an AR-15 rifle was “cold, calculated and premeditated.”

Cruz, a 19-year-old expelled student with a history of mental health and behavioral problems at the time of the shooting, said in his guilty plea he was “very sorry” and asked to be given a chance to help others. The jury must be unanimous to recommend that the Parkland school shooter receive the death penalty. If any of the 12 jurors objects, Cruz will be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The tour down the hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School follows emotional testimony from families of the victims earlier this week. Families who testified want Cruz to receive the death penalty. The mother and grandmother of victim Alyssa Alhadeff took the stand.

“I have outbursts of tears at any time,” Theresa Robinovitz, Alhadeff’s grandmother, said. “Sleepless nights and anger, which has replaced the pure joy of living each day. Each night I go to bed and wrap myself with an extra blanket that I would once cover Alyssa with.”

“As time passes and I continually think about what could have been for Alyssa,” Lori Alhadeff said, “the pain does not subside and the grief does not lessen. I surely would have traded places with her that day if I could have. But the life I now lead is in honor of my Alyssa Miriam Alhadeff, our angel, who will always be remembered and never forgotten.”

Prosecutors were expected to rest their case shortly after the visit. As for the building, it is set to be demolished once the Broward County School District receives approval from prosecutors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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