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Family members tell jurors about the victims of the Parkland school shooting

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz capital murder trial
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel
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South Florida Sun Sentinel
Lori Alhadeff reaches over to comfort her mother, Theresa Robinovitz, as she breaks down after reading her victim impact statement during the penalty phase of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, August 2, 2022. Alhadeff’s daughter and Robinovitz’s granddaughter, Alyssa, was killed in the 2018 shootings. Cruz previously plead guilty to all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Pool)

In victim impact statements, family members of the 17 people killed tell jurors how their lives were changed by the murder of the students and teachers.

The prosecutors in the Parkland school shooting death penalty trial are nearing the end of their case.

This week, families of the 17 people killed have been telling the jury about the lives of their sons, daughters and siblings.

Parents and siblings of the victims have sat through weeks of testimony detailing how their loved ones died. Now they are getting the opportunity to tell jurors how they lived.

The testimonies are powerful and painful. Few family members make it through without stopping to take a breath or wipe their tears.

Parent Jennifer Guttenberg spoke about her 14-year-old daughter Jaime.

“I struggled immensely with not allowing myself to partake in anything that Jaime liked — Her favorite snack. I cannot touch my lips because it isn't fair that I can eat it, but she no longer can," Guttenberg said. "If one of her favorite TV shows comes in, I change the channel. Why should I watch if she can't? The list goes on and on. I miss Jamie, I miss her sparkle. I miss her larger-than-life personality. I miss her dancing. I miss her snuggles. I miss her hugs. I miss her kisses."

Alaina Petty also died in the shooting. Her sister Meghan said this about her.

“14 is too young to die and it causes me pain to know that she never got a chance to even truly live. She never got her braces off. She'd never had her first kiss. And it hurts me to know that she never got us to the prom.”

When they are done reading their statements, family members return to their seats and are embraced by the other families.

Gerard Albert III is back in Broward, where he grew up, after reporting on crime and public safety in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and West Palm Beach. Albert is a former WLRN intern who graduated from Florida International University.