State Watch

Jury visits Parkland school shooting scene in shooter’s death penalty case

FILE – Law enforcement officers block off the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 15, 2018, the day after a deadly shooting at the school. Jurors in the trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz are expected to walk through the still blood-spattered rooms of the high school Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in a visit to the three-story building where he murdered 14 students and three staff members four years ago. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

The jury in the trial over the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting visited the scene of the Parkland, Fla., massacre on Thursday, led by prosecutors who are arguing that gunman Nikolas Cruz should receive the death penalty for the 17 he killed in February 2018.

The building where the shooting occurred has remained as it was left after the shooting

The jury’s tour took 90 minutes, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported, and was deemed necessary by prosecutors to prove that the shooting was “heinous, atrocious and cruel.”

Prosecutors said jurors would see that the incident was “cold, calculated and premeditated” and caused “great bodily harm.”

Lawyers for Cruz, however, said that jurors would not be able to render a fair verdict due to the graphic tour coupled with emotional testimony in the courtroom.

Cruz was allowed to join the jury, made up of 12 members and 10 alternates, on their visit to the crime scene but chose not to exercise his right to attend.

The building was marked by “bloodstains, shattered glass and bullet holes in the windows and the walls,” according to the Sentinel.

Jurors were able to see the pool of blood where the school’s athletic director, Chris Hixon, was shot, and the streak of blood that followed him to a nearby exit as people tried to save him before his death.

The Sentinel reported that the west end of the third-floor hallway was “drenched” after the shooting, though the blood stains have now dried.

Cruz also aimed at windows in the building as students and others rushed outside to escape the gunfire, but was unable to completely break through some of them.

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