By TERRY SPENCER, Related Press
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Jurors within the penalty trial of Florida faculty shooter Nikolas Cruz considered graphic video Tuesday of him murdering 17 individuals as he stalked by a three-story classroom constructing at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty 4 years in the past.
The video, compiled from 13 safety cameras contained in the constructing, was not proven to the gallery, the place mother and father of lots of the victims sat. Proven later to reporters, it depicts Cruz crouching and stalking in a left-handed shooter’s stance, firing at something that strikes, down the halls and into school rooms.
He shoots lots of his victims at point-blank vary, going again to some as they lay wounded on the ground to kill them with a second volley of pictures. In a single phase, athletic director Chris Hixon bursts by a door to confront Cruz, however is wounded and falls. He crawls behind a pillar. Cruz kills him with a blast as he passes.
The 12 jurors and 10 alternates stared intently at their video screens because it performed. Many held fingers to their faces as they considered the 15-minute recording, which has no sound.
Some began squirming. One juror appeared on the display, appeared up at Cruz together with his eyes large after which returned to the video.
Cruz appeared down whereas the video performed and didn’t seem to observe it. He typically appeared as much as change whispers with one in all his attorneys.
The video was performed over the objection of Cruz’s attorneys, who argued that any evidentiary worth it has is outweighed by the feelings it will elevate within the jurors. They argued that witness statements of what occurred could be enough.
Circuit Decide Elizabeth Scherer dismissed the objection, saying a video that precisely displays Cruz’s crimes doesn’t unfairly prejudice his case. Prosecutors are utilizing the video to show a number of aggravating elements, together with that Cruz acted in a chilly, calculated and merciless method.
Cruz, 23, pleaded responsible in October to 17 counts of first-degree homicide, and 17 extra counts of tried homicide for these he wounded. The jury should determine if he must be sentenced to demise or life with out parole for the nation’s deadliest mass taking pictures to go earlier than a jury.
Later throughout day two of the trial, jurors heard testimony from Christopher McKenna, who was a freshman throughout the Feb. 14, 2018, taking pictures. He had left his English class to go to the toilet and exchanged greetings with two college students, Luke Hoyer and Martin Duque, as they crossed paths within the first-floor hallway. McKenna then entered a stairwell and encountered Cruz assembling his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.
Cruz, who had been expelled from Stoneman Douglas a 12 months earlier, had come onto campus by a gate that had been opened for the top of the college day in about 20 minutes carrying the gun in a bag.
“He stated get out of right here. Issues are about to get unhealthy,” McKenna recalled.
McKenna sprinted to the car parking zone as Cruz went into the hallway and started taking pictures. McKenna alerted Aaron Feis, an assistant soccer coach who doubled as a safety guard. Feis drove McKenna in his golf cart to an adjoining constructing for security, after which went to the three-story constructing McKenna fled from.
By then, the sounds of gunfire had been already ringing out throughout the campus. Feis went in and was fatally shot instantly by Cruz, who had already killed Hoyer, 15, and Duque, 14, and eight others. Cruz then continued by the second flooring, the place he fired into school rooms however hit nobody.
When he reached the third-floor, the video reveals, Cruz discovered college students and lecturers within the hallway, getting ready to evacuate. He fires at them as they attempt to run away. Two women, 18-year-old Meadow Pollack and 14-year-old Cara Loughran, fall wounded. He shoots them once more as he passes.
Peter Wang, 15, fell mortally wounded by the door. Jaime Guttenberg, 14, made it by the stairwell door earlier than she fell.
Cruz would quickly run previous their our bodies, out onto the athletic fields and mingle with the fleeing college students, dashing previous two women carrying Valentine’s Day balloons. He could be captured about an hour later in a neighborhood 3 miles (5 kilometers) away.
The jurors additionally heard testimony from English instructor Dara Hass, who advert three college students killed and a number of other wounded in her classroom when Cruz fired by a window within the door.
“The sound was so loud. The scholars had been screaming,” stated Hass, who wept and dabbed her eyes with tissue as she testified. She thought it is perhaps a drill, however then she noticed the physique of 14-year-old Alex Schachter, who had been fatally shot at his desk.
“That is once I noticed it wasn’t a drill,” she stated. Two 14-year-old women additionally died within the classroom: Alaina Petty and Alyssa Alhadeff.
When police arrived and evacuated her college students, Hass stated she didn’t need to depart however officers satisfied her.
“I needed to stick with the scholars who couldn’t go,” she stated, referring to Schachter, Petty and Alhadeff.
One scholar in her class, Alexander Dworet, stated he initially thought the loud bangs had been the college’s marching band, however then he felt a “sizzling sensation” on the again of his head the place he had been grazed by a bullet and “I spotted I used to be in peril.” He and different college students scrambled away from the window, utilizing Hass’ desk as a barrier.
Dworet’s 17-year-old brother, Nick, was throughout the corridor in his Holocaust research class. Cruz fired into that classroom, too, killing him.
An earlier model of this story incorrectly reported that Hass was proven pictures of victims’ our bodies.
Related Press author Freida Frisaro in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contributed to this report.
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