FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The jury that will decide whether Nikolas Cruz should get the death penalty for killing 17 people in the 2018 shooting rampage at a Parkland, Fla, high school was selected Wednesday, after a painstaking, stop-and-start process that took nearly three months.
The defense wound up using all 10 of its peremptory challenges, eliminating candidates for any reason other than race or gender, while the prosecution used four. On Wednesday, the defense used its final strikes to eliminate a retired insurance company executive and a banking executive who had been tentatively on the panel when court adjourned Tuesday.
Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer shot down the defense’s attempt to use a peremptory to eliminate a Black man who said during jury selection he did not believe in the existence of “white privilege” — the argument that white people get certain societal advantages because of their race. Scherer agreed with the prosecution’s argument that the defense’s reasoning showed racial bias.