BREAKING: Parkland shooter’s attorneys move for mistrial as sentencing begins

The sentencing trial for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooter Nikolas Cruz began Monday with the prosecution’s opening statements calling the gunman “cold, calculated, manipulative, and deadly.”

The trial is being broadcast live on the Law & Crime network from the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale and will decide the fate of Cruz, who entered his high school in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018 and murdered fourteen students and three faculty. The jury of twelve must decide if Cruz should be sentenced to death, or life without the possibility of parole.

When the shooting started, Danielle Gilbert was in her junior psychology class where four people were shot and one died. “We were sitting like sitting ducks. We had no way to protect ourselves,” Gilbert told the courtroom.

Law & Crime’s Cathy Russon tweeted clips of Gilbert’s testimony, including when the court played video footage from Gilbert’s cellphone. Russon writes, “HORRIFIC! You can hear the endless gunshots from #NikolasCruz and he’s killing students. Danielle Gilbert recorded him on her cellphone. The gallery can hear but not see the video. The jury IS seeing the video. Gilbert cries on the stand. Family members run out of court.”

Gilbert was one of several other witnesses that included teacher Brittany Sinitch who cried on the stand recounting the events of that day.

The prosecution called Dylan Kraemer who was a student at the time and played Snapchat video he took during the shooting. The video’s volume was very loud and it caused family to scream “shut if off!”

After a break the defense seized this moment and asked for a mistrial saying that the exclamation from the parents prejudiced the jury. After a plea for a mistrial, Judge Elizabeth Scherer simply responded that the incident was “not even close” to meeting the standard for prejudicing the jury and directed the prosecution to call their next witness

Assistant State Attorney Mike Satz said in his opening statement that Cruz told students, “This is what the defendant said: ‘Hello, my name is Nik. I’m going to be the next school shooter of 2018. My goal is at least 20 people with an AR-15 and some tracer rounds. It’s going to be a big event, and when you see me on the news, you’ll know who I am. You’re all going to die. Ah yeah, I can’t wait.'”

Lead prosecutor Mike Satz said Cruz stalked the hallways and would return to wounded victims to finish them off. Nikolas Cruz previously pleaded guilty to 17 charges of first-degree murder and 17 of attempted murder. A jury of seven men and five women will decide whether the 23-year-old mass murderer will die or spend the rest of his life in prison for his crime.

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