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Jury selection in Parkland shooter’s penalty phase already hits a snag

APTOPIX School Shooting Florida
Parkland school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz enters the courtroom for a hearing at the Broward Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Cruz returned court this week for hearings on the Valentine’s Day 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and on accusations he assaulted a corrections officer. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Missteps could lead to mistrial motion in Nikolas Cruz’ sentencing phase which would mean it would have to start all over again.  Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer and the defense tangled over a timing issue in selecting jurors just one day into jury pre-selection.   As a result, the jury selection process may have to start over and is expected to take two months.

Jury selection continues Wednesday for the sentencing trial of Nikolas Cruz, who pled guilty to the deadly 2018 Parkland school shooting.

At least 20 total jurors will be picked so that there are plenty of alternates throughout the trial, Judge Elizabeth Scherer said. The final panel will comprise 12 jurors plus eight alternates. At least 1,500 potential jurors are going to be screened throughout the process by both the prosecutors and defense attorneys.

The 34 charges include murder, attempted murder, and those related to the possession and discharging of a weapon.

The death penalty is still on the table for Cruz. If one juror disagrees with the death penalty, Cruz will spend life in prison.


Jury selection for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz will begin Monday after four years of legal maneuvering and pandemic delays.

Cruz’s attorneys will attempt to find jurors who they think will vote against sentencing him to death for murdering 17 people.

There may be 1,500 or more potential jurors who will be screened by prosecutors and defense attorneys. They will have to select 12 jurors who indicate that they can put aside their knowledge of the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and judge the case fairly.

The 23-year-old Cruz has pleaded guilty to the murders. The jury will decide whether he is sentenced to death or life without parole