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Jury rarely sees Parkland scene – thereporteronline

terry spencer

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The roses that celebrated love on Valentine’s Day 2018 died and the dry, cracked petals littered the classroom floor were gunned down by a former student more than four years ago. It was still smeared with the blood of the victim. .

Nicholas Cruz kills 14 students and 3 faculty members at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as bullet holes pierce the walls and shattered windows shatter at feet. did. Nothing had changed except that the victim’s body and some personal effects had been taken away.

The 12 jurors and 10 alternates who will decide whether Cruz will be sentenced to death or to life in prison rarely visited the massacre site on Thursday, in a three-story freshman building known as “Building 12.” I followed in Cruz’s footsteps through After they left, a group of journalists were allowed in for a much quicker first public view.

A large pool of dried blood still stained the floor of the classroom. One black rubber shoe in the hallway. Six people died as brown rose petals littered the corridors.

The notebooks opened for each classroom displayed unfinished lessons. A bloody book called “Tell Them We Remember” lay on the desks of a bullet-riddled classroom, where Mr. Ivy Shamis was teaching students about the Holocaust. A sign on the bulletin board read, “We will never forget.” Two students died there.

The classroom of English teacher Dara Hass, whose students were mostly shot, had an essay about Malala Yousafzai. Malala Yousafzai was a Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban for attending school, after which she became a global advocate for women and women’s access to education. she is a girl

“The bullet hit her in the head, but not in her brain,” wrote one student. “We go to school every day, but we take everything for granted.” another user wrote. “We cry and complain without knowing how lucky we are to learn.”

The door of Room 1255, the classroom of Miss Stacy Rippel, was pushed open. On the inner wall was a sign that said “No Bully Zone”. The creative writing challenge for the day was on the whiteboard. “How to Write the Perfect Love Letter”.

James Dean quotes still hang on the wall of the second-floor hallway.

In the geography class of the murdered teacher, Scott Beigel, the laptop was still open on his desk. Student assignments comparing Christian and Islamic beliefs remained, some scored and some unscored. Beigel, the school’s cross-country coach, had written on a whiteboard the gold, silver, and bronze medalists for each event of the Winter Olympics, which began five days earlier.

Prosecutors, who dropped the charges after a jury tour, hope the visit will help prove Cruz’s actions were cold, calculated, vicious and cruel. It poses a great danger of death to many people and “obstructed the functioning of the government” – all aggravating factors under Florida’s death penalty law.

Under Florida court rules, neither judges nor attorneys were allowed to speak to jurors, nor were jurors allowed to speak to each other as Cruise traveled the road on February 14, 2018. did. Fire floor to floor, hallway to classroom. Prior to the tour, jurors had already seen surveillance video of the shooting and photos of its aftermath.

The building was sealed and surrounded by a 15-foot (4.6-meter) chain link fence wrapped in a privacy mesh screen secured with zip ties. It looms ominously above the school and its teachers, staff, and her 3,300 students, and can be easily seen by anyone nearby. The Broward County school district plans to demolish it whenever prosecutors approve. It’s just a courtroom display.

“When you walk by, it’s there. When you go to class, it’s there. It’s a huge structure you can’t miss,” said Kai Kerber, who was Stoneman Douglas’ junior at the time of filming. He is currently at the University of California, Berkeley and is the developer of a mental health phone app. “It’s a constant reminder…it’s incredibly painful and terrifying.”

Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder in October. The trial will only decide whether he will be sentenced to death or life without parole.

Miami defense attorney David S. Weinstein said the prosecution hoped the visit would be “the last piece of the jury’s suspicion that the death penalty is the only recommendation.” Told.

Such crime scene visits are rare. Former prosecutor Weinstein said he had only one trial in more than 150 jury trials dating back to the late 1980s.

Most courts do not consider crime scene visits. Because it could give you a false sense of what happened years later, not in the same place where the crime happened. was completed.

Cruz’s attorneys argued that prosecutors used what they claimed to be provocative evidence, including Thursday’s visit, not only to prove their claims but also to incite jurors’ passion. ing.

After the jury returned to court on Thursday, the mother of two victims testified that the massacre permanently cast a dark shadow over not only all Valentine’s Day, but other important family celebrations.

17-year-old Helena Ramsay died on her father’s birthday. “The day is never a celebration and it will never be the same day for him,” said her mother, Anne Ramsay.

Hui Wang, whose 15-year-old son Peter was killed, said the shooting took place the day before Chinese New Year. The planned celebration was canceled that year and every year since.

“This day of unity has been the most painful,” she said.

Athletic director Chris Hickson’s wife and 26-year-old son with special needs also spoke to jurors on the fourth and final day who heard from the victims’ families. Hickson, a 49-year-old Navy veteran, died after crashing into a building while trying to stop Cruz and protect his students.

Corey Hickson opened up about his weekly donut-eating ritual with his father.

“I miss him,” he said simply.

Jury rarely sees Parkland scene – thereporteronline

Source link Jury rarely sees Parkland scene – thereporteronline

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