Elizabeth Scherer Nikolas Cruz state Florida state Texas county Lauderdale city Fort Lauderdale, state Florida county El Paso covid-19 death pandemic Elizabeth Scherer Nikolas Cruz state Florida state Texas county Lauderdale city Fort Lauderdale, state Florida county El Paso

Life or death: Penalty phase for Parkland school shooter begins with jury selection

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Jury selection in the deadliest mass shooting ever to go to trial will begin Monday with preliminary screening for the panel that will determine whether Nikolas Cruz will be put to death for murdering 17 students and staff members at a Parkland, Florida, high school.Court officials say 1,500 candidates or more could be brought before Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer, prosecutors, and Cruz’s public defenders for initial screening over the next several weeks.

The final panel will comprise 12 jurors plus eight alternates. Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty in October to the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, meaning the jury will only decide if he receives a death sentence or life without parole.The full trial could run for four to six months.Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz looks toward the prosecution table during a hearing at the Broward Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on April 5, 2019. (Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images) Seven other U.S.

killers who fatally shot at least 17 people died during or immediately after their attacks, either by suicide or at the hands of police.

The suspect in the 2019 massacre of 23 at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart is still awaiting trial.Death penalty trials in Florida and much of the country often take two years to start because of their complexity, but Cruz’s was further delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and extensive legal wrangling.PREVIOUS: Broward school district to pay $26 million to Parkland shooting victimsTony Montalto, whose 14-year-old daughter, Gina, died in the attack, said the trial "has been a long time coming.""I just hope everyone remembers the victims," he said.

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