Parkland verdict latest: Juror ‘threatened’ during deliberation over Nikolas Cruz prison sentence

Parkland verdict latest: Juror ‘threatened’ during deliberation over Nikolas Cruz prison sentence


Parkland shooting: Nikolas Cruz listens as verdict read out in court

A juror in Nikolas Cruz’s sentencing trial allegedly informed a court staffer that she was threatened by a fellow panel member during deliberation over the Parkland shooter’s fate.

Prosecutors raised alarm about the perceived threat in a filing asking Judge Elizabeth Scherer to launch an investigation hours after the jury recommended a life sentence for Cruz on Thursday.

“Juror X spoke to a support staff member and informed the support staff member that during deliberations she received what she perceived to be a threat from a fellow juror while in the jury room,” states the filing, obtained by CNN.

The development comes as other members of the jury have spoken of their frustration at being unable to convince a sole “holdout” that Cruz deserved the death penalty.

Foreperson Benjamin Thomas told CBS Miami that one juror had been adamant from the beginning of deliberations that Cruz should not receive capital punishment because he was mentally ill.

The juror has since denied claims in a filing to the court that she had made up her mind about the sentence before hearing the evidence.


Family members of the victims of the shooting have packed into the public gallery ahead of the verdict.

Lawyers for both sides are present, but Cruz is yet to be brought into the courtroom.


The victims

Nikolas Cruz killed 14 high school students and three faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day 2018.


Cruz enters court

Nikolas Cruz, initially wearing a Covid-19 face mask, is brought into the courtroom by law enforcement.

He is having a conversation with his defence counsel, Chief Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeil, before proceedings begin.


Reminder: The jury must reach a unanimous decision to recommend the death penalty. If not, their recommendation will be life in prison with no parole.


Court now in session

Court is now back in session Judge Elizabeth Scherer presiding.

Both sides agree they are ready to bring in the jurors for the verdict.


Verdict forms being read

As each of the 17 verdict forms is read out by Judge Scherer, it is so far looking as if the jury has not reached a unanimous decision on the death penalty.

The jury so far has said the evidence of aggravating factors in his murders exist but did not outweigh the mitigating circumstances.

This would indicate a life sentence with no parole.



The prosecution only needs the jury to recommend a death sentence for one of the 17 victims. So far the jury has not unanimously come to that decision


The verdict sheets continue to be read out and still, there is no charge in which the aggravating factors have outweighed the mitigating factors.

The jury is saying that while the prosecution has proven that the aggravating factors warrant the death penalty, Cruz’s mental health issues outweigh that.

There is still no death penalty possible at this point.


Families react as life in prison looks increasingly likely


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Jorge Oliveira