Park taking pictures trial: Jurors to go to Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College as we speak



CNN

The jury from the verdict part of the trial for the gunman who killed 17 people They are expected to visit the scene of the massacre in building 1200 of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Thursday.

The building on the school campus has been closed since 2018. of the February shooting to be preserved for trial. A new building opened in 2020 has taken over the role of a structure that officials say will be demolished.

The visit is to help jurors analyze the evidence presented in court so far, Judge Elizabeth Scherer explained.

The judge on Wednesday instructed jurors to “refrain from touching, manipulating or moving anything.” She also told them to explore the stage on their own and at their own pace, moving from floor to floor as a group.

“Nothing will be explained or pointed out to you,” the judge’s instructions said. Jurors were also told not to speak to anyone until the review was over.

Jurors may not have a smartphone, smart watch or any type of camera during the jury review. In court, lawyers urged the judge to ask jurors to wear closed-toe shoes because they could come into contact with the glass on the floor.

The current phase of the trial is the conviction of gunman Nikolas Cruz: prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, while Cruz’s defense attorneys are asking jurors to sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. To recommend a death sentence, the jury must be unanimous. If they do, the judge could choose to uphold the recommendation or sentence Cruz to life in prison.

Cruz is not expected to be at the scene of the crime.

Some impact statements are expected after the court visit, the judge said.

Wednesday was the third day of victim testimony in the Cruz trial, which pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the shooting.

Much of the testimony at the Broward County trial — especially from the parents of the 14 slain students — focused on all the things the victims and their families will never be able to do, and the irreparable damage to their daily lives.

“Our family is broken. It’s a constant void here,” said Max Schachter, father of 14-year-old Alex, who loved chocolate chip cookies, playing the trombone and playing video games.

“I feel like I can’t really be happy if I’m smiling,” Schachter said Wednesday. “I know that behind that smile is the sharp realization that a part of me will always be sad and miserable because Alex isn’t here.

The loss of her daughter, Meadow Pollack, 18, “destroyed” Sara Kaplan’s life, she told a jury Tuesday, “and my ability to live a productive life.” To explain how her daughter’s death had affected her, she said she would have to rip her heart out and show them how it was broken into a million pieces.

And the Hoyer family will never be the same. “We were a family of five who were always trying to fit into a world made for even numbers,” said Tom Hoyer, whose 15-year-old son Luke, the youngest of three, was killed. “Two, four, six-seat tables in the restaurant. Packages of two, four, six tickets to events. Things like that.”

But the Hoyers are no longer a family of five, and “never again will the world feel right when we’re a family of four,” Hoyer said.

“When Luke died, something went away in me,” he said. “And I will never, ever get over that feeling.”

In deciding the sentence, jurors will hear arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys about aggravating factors and mitigating factors — reasons why Cruz should or should not be executed.

Victim impact statements add another layer, giving victims’ families and friends their day in court, although the judge told the jury the statements should not be considered aggravating factors.

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