Here’s what we all know: Nikolas Cruz, the now 24-year-old who admitted to killing 17 individuals in Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018, has avoided the death penalty.
A jury on Thursday really useful he be sentenced to life in jail with out the risk of parole, a choice which enraged lots of the victims’ households who stated Cruz being allowed to stay is just not justice served.
“Life in jail is NOT punishment! That is precisely what he needed,” Max Schachter, the father of 14-year-old Alex Schachter, who was murdered in the bloodbath, wrote on Twitter. He stated the resolution means Cruz will seemingly be protected whereas in custody, have the ability to “learn, draw, obtain cellphone calls & mail,” whereas “his 17 victims suffered in concern” earlier than he killed them.
There continues to be a lot we have no idea about what the remainder of Cruz’s life in jail will seem like, most of which is able to seemingly be sorted out as soon as he’s formally sentenced early subsequent month.
But here’s what might come subsequent:
He can be sentenced in two weeks
The jury’s suggestion Thursday is simply that: a suggestion and never an official sentence. Since Thursday, jurors have come ahead about what they described had been intense deliberations, and one juror reported feeling threatened; an allegation the native sheriff’s workplace is now investigating.
Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer is anticipated to formally sentence Cruz November 1 at 9 a.m., however underneath Florida regulation, the choose can not depart from the jury’s suggestion of life in jail.
Victims and members of the family are anticipated to talk earlier than the sentence is delivered.
But so far as the sentence itself, the jury’s suggestion is last, Broward County Public Defender Gordon Weekes stated in a Thursday information convention, including in the state, “victims have a constitutional proper to be heard at each stage of the continuing.”
“The courtroom goes to respect that proper and provides them a possibility to be heard. And we respect that, and we acknowledge that, and that needs to be adopted,” Weekes stated. “However, we now have to additionally acknowledge the jurors in the case sat by a variety of days of very, very troublesome, traumatic proof, and so they heard all of it, and so they weighed all of it, and so they rendered a verdict. We need to respect that.”
Cruz additionally has the proper to make a press release in the sentencing if he chooses to, in keeping with Janet Johnson, a Florida felony protection legal professional.
Cruz will then be processed in a reception middle
Cruz, who has been in jail in Broward County since 2018, additionally has been sentenced to 25 years in state jail after he pleaded responsible to attacking a jail officer in November of that yr.
He will seemingly stay in county custody for a pair weeks after his sentence is handed down earlier than he’s then positioned in the custody of Florida’s Department of Corrections and transported to considered one of a number of reception facilities in the state.
On Thursday, Weekes stated Cruz will seemingly be taken to the South Florida Reception Center.
He will spend a number of weeks at the reception middle “getting bodily examinations, psychological well being examinations,” Johnson stated. “They’ll take a look at his file, they will take a look at the degree of crime that he is convicted of, which is clearly the highest, and so they’ll advocate a facility someplace in the state.”
The chosen facility is decided by “reviewing the seriousness of (the inmate’s) offenses, size of sentence, time remaining to serve, prior felony file, escape historical past, jail adjustment, and different components,” in keeping with the Florida Department of Corrections web site.
“The most severe offenders with the longest sentences and people least more likely to alter to institutional life are positioned in safer amenities,” the corrections division web site famous. Based on these evaluations, the particular person is then transferred to the facility deemed most applicable.
Because Cruz is a high-risk offender, he’ll seemingly be positioned in a jail with different high-profile or “very harmful criminals,” Johnson stated.
“But he would not be secluded, which in fact, is an actual risk for him as a result of there could also be individuals who wish to do ‘jail justice,’ who did not really feel that the sentence he obtained in courtroom was sufficient,” Johnson added.
According to a corrections division handbook, there are a number of custody classifications of inmates, amongst them, shut custody for inmates who “should be maintained inside an armed perimeter or underneath direct, armed supervision when exterior of a safe perimeter.”
The corrections division didn’t reply to CNN’s questions relating to what sort of custody Cruz could also be positioned underneath.
His protection hinted at risks inside jail
Lead protection legal professional Melisa McNeill additionally hinted about the risks Cruz will face in jail throughout her closing arguments in the death penalty trial, saying he’ll “wait to die” in a facility, “both by pure causes or no matter else might probably occur to him whereas he is in jail.”
And in a information convention following the jury’s suggestion, Linda Beigel Schulman, the mom of geography trainer Scott Beigel, who was killed in the highschool, stated Cruz will “need to look over his shoulder (in jail) each minute of the remainder of his life.”
“I hope he has the concern in him, each second of his life, simply the method he gave that concern to each considered one of our family members, who he murdered,” she stated. “He ought to stay in that concern, and he needs to be afraid each second of the day of his life.”
His rights in jail might embrace, mail, visits, tablets
Parents of Parkland victims, together with Schachter, have pointed to components of life Cruz will nonetheless get to expertise whereas in jail their kids had been robbed of.
It contains receiving mail and seeing guests, which he’ll seemingly have the proper to do, Johnson stated. He might even have a pill by which he’ll have the ability to e mail and textual content others, Johnson added.
The division of corrections web site identified inmates and their households are allowed to speak by “interactive, stationary kiosks out there basically inhabitants housing models, in addition to tablets.” Those providers can be found in all the main correctional establishments in Florida, in keeping with the website.
“And you’ll be able to see the argument (of the victims’) households saying, ‘We do not get to try this,’ ” Johnson added. “And it is comprehensible.”
What psychological well being therapy might seem like
The corrections division additionally didn’t reply CNN’s query about what sort of psychological well being therapy Cruz could obtain whereas in jail.
During the trial, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office launched greater than 30 pages of writings and drawings by Cruz which revealed disturbing ideas he is had whereas in custody, specializing in weapons, blood and death. On one web page, Cruz wrote: “All I would like is to go to death row. I do not need life. Please assist me go to death row.” On one other, he addressed his household, telling them he’s unhappy and is hoping to die of a coronary heart assault by taking painkillers and thru excessive consuming.
Also whereas in jail, Cruz drew photos of bullets, weapons and folks being shot. He wrote he “by no means needed to be alive,” and he hopes he dies and by no means wakes up and “my life is painful, at all times has at all times will” be.
His protection crew argued Cruz is a “brain-damaged, mentally sick” particular person who, amongst different circumstances, suffered from fetal alcohol spectrum dysfunction, stemming from his mom’s substance and alcohol abuse throughout being pregnant, McNeill stated throughout closing arguments.
And Cruz appeared to manage his habits in the courtroom, McNeill stated, as a result of “he is medicated, and he is underneath psychiatric care. He’s being handled by the jail psychologist.”
Cruz will obtain a psychiatric examination when he arrives at the reception middle, Johnson stated, which is able to assist decide his analysis and what remedy he could require.