Parkland Shooter Formally Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole for 2018 Valentine's Day School
Nikolas Cruz, the gunman responsible for murdering 17 people in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was formally sentenced to life in prison without parole Wednesday. Just last month, a jury recommended that life sentence instead of the death penalty, a decision that shook family members of the victims.
Cruz, now 24, pleaded guilty in October 2021 to 17 counts of murder. He was sentenced on 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, with 34 counts of the indictment to be served consecutively.
Prior to the formal sentencing, survivors and family members of the students and staff killed in the Valentine's Day massacre addressed the gunman.
Lori Alhadeff, the mother of Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, said in her statement in court, "All I wanted to do was to bring Alyssa back to life. But I couldn't protect her, and I couldn't save her."
Samantha Fuentes, a former classmate of Cruz, also spoke, saying, "You shot me in the leg. If you looked me in the face, like I'm looking at you right now, you would see the scars on it from the hot shrapnel that was lodged into it. Do you remember after you sprayed my classroom with bullets, standing in the door, peering in to see the work you've done? Do you remember my little battered, bloody face looking back at you? I could have sworn we locked eyes," she said.
She continued, "I'll have to live with the aftermath of this for the rest of my life. I'll always have PTSD, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations."
April Schentrup, the mother of 16-year-old Carmen Schentrup, also wrote a statement that was read in court. "Although one death sentence does not even come close to the 17 homicides and 17 attempted homicides he committed, I am still shocked at how members of this jury could decide a life sentence for someone whose life goal was to harm and kill others," she wrote.
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