December 5, 2022

NO WORDS: Parkland parents address mass murderer in court Tuesday

NO WORDS: Parkland parents address mass murderer in court Tuesday

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The grieving and emotionally scarred parents and family members who lost their children and others in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida will finally have their chance to speak directly to the shooter who narrowly escaped the death sentence.

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A two-day hearing is scheduled to begin on Tuesday that will conclude with the shooter, the now-24-year-old Nikolas Cruz, being sentenced to life in prison without parole.

After enduring a trial that featured often graphic details of the massacre Cruz had carefully planned after studying other school shootings for years, each family of the 14 students and three staff members Cruz murdered can speak, as can the 17 people he wounded during the seven-minute attack at the Parkland high school.

The families gave highly emotional statements during the trial but were severely restricted about what they could tell the jurors — they could only describe their loved ones and the murders’ toll on their lives. The people who were wounded could only say what happened to them.

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During the trial, the families were barred from addressing Cruz directly or saying anything about him, which would have risked a mistrial. Jurors were told they couldn’t consider the family statements as aggravating factors as they weighed whether Cruz should die. But now those restrictions have been removed.

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“We are looking forward to speaking without the guardrails that were imposed upon us,” said Tony Montalto, whose 14-year-old daughter Gina was murdered.

Linda Beigel Schulman, whose son, teacher Scott Beigel, was murdered by Cruz, said she hopes Cruz “has the fear in him every second of his life just the way he gave that fear to every one of our loved ones whom he murdered or the students and people that he harmed.”

Nikolas Cruz is likely to be forced to face the full vitriol of the angry survivors and relatives of the people that he murdered, people who are extremely disappointed that he did not receive a death sentence.

Hopefully, the ability to address Cruz directly will provide a measure of catharsis for the bereaved.

Follow Tara Dublin on Twitter @taradublinrocks.

Tara Dublin

Tara Dublin is a woefully unrepresented writer who thinks more people would read her cool rock & roll love story inspired by Dave Grohl than any ghostwritten GOP crapbook, agents & publishers. Follow Tara on Twitter @taradublinrocks

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