On Thursday, October 13, a jury reached a unanimous decision in sentencing recommendations in Nikolas Cruz's trial for the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — and the jury recommended life without parole instead of the death penalty. Cruz's sentencing has been reset for November 1.
Prosecutors, the day before, asked the jury to sentence Cruz to death, while his defense team urged the jurors to sentence him to life in prison instead. But the jurors appeared to be persuaded by the defense's arguments, deciding against recommending the death penalty for Cruz.
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Rafael Olmeda, "On the evidence, the prosecution made its case, the jury found unanimously. But at least one juror, and all it took was one, was persuaded by the defense plea for mercy."
In his closing argument, the lead prosecutor, Michael Satz, told jurors, "What he wanted to do, what his plan was and what he did, was to murder children at school and their caretakers. That's what he wanted to do."
However, Melisa McNeil, a defense attorney for Cruz, described him as a "brain-damaged, broken, mentally ill person, through no fault of his own."
In February 2018, the Parkland massacre became one of the most horrifying school shootings in U.S. history. Cruz killed 17 people that day, including 14 students and three staff members.