Jury seated to determine school shooter’s fate

Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty in October to murdering 17 people at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, meaning the expected four-month trial will only decide if he receives a penalty of death or life in prison without parole.

By

National News

June 29, 2022 - 5:36 PM

Judge Elizabeth Scherer speaks during jury selection in the penalty phase of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

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.

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