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Sentencing trial for Parkland shooter starts next week

A wall of photos of the 17 people killed was lined with flowers at the Parkland memorial event last month in Pine Trails Park.
Kate Payne
/
WLRN
A wall of photos of the 17 people killed was lined with flowers at the Parkland memorial event last month in Pine Trails Park.

The sentencing trial for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz begins Monday, with the start of the jury selection process. Cruz, 23, murdered 17 people and wounded 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Feb. 14, 2018. Here’s what you need to know about the proceedings:

Nikolas Cruz won’t be escaping punishment. The 23-year-old former MSD student pleaded guilty in November to 17 counts of first-degree murder, and 17 counts of attempted murder. He’s also pleaded guilty to attacking a Broward sheriff’s deputy several months after the shooting.

There’s only two possible sentences: life in prison without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty.

The jury will have a lot to weigh. Prosecutors must prove “aggravating factors” that make this case worthy of death penalty. They include the “heinous, atrocious and cruel” and calculated nature of the massacre, knowingly creating a “great risk of death to many persons” and his conviction for battering a Broward deputy.

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.