TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Fort Lauderdale jury finished deliberating for the first day in the case against Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz but a decision was not reached.
Cruz has already admitted guilt in the mass killing of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
A jury of 12 people must now decide if they will recommend he serve life in prison or be sentenced to death for the crimes.
“It has to be unanimous by, the Supreme Court now says it has to be unanimous. So, if it’s unanimous the judge has to give that great weight to the jury’s determination, but she can overrule them and say ‘no I’m going to impose life instead,'” said Tampa Attorney Bryant Camareno.
Camareno is certified to defend death penalty cases and has represented a number of high-profile clients.
He said if the jury can’t reach a unanimous decision, Cruz will be sentenced to life in prison.
He said in Florida, that means he will not be paroled.
“There was a time when life did not mean life, and folks were eligible for parole, but not anymore. Life is life,” Camareno said.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd served on the Stoneman Douglas Commission and feels strongly that Cruz should be sentenced to death.
“I can tell you clearly and unequivocally, in my estimation, Nikolas Cruz needs to die. He needs to get the death penalty times every one of the people that he massacred that day,” Judd said.
The jury will come back Thursday at 9 a.m. to begin deliberations for day two.