In the lengthy trial of Parkland massacre gunman Nicolas Cruz — jury selection began six months ago, in early April — prosecutors and defense attorneys presented evidence of aggravating factors and mitigating circumstances, reasons why Cruz should or should not be put to death.
Attorney General Michael Satz said during the trial that the state pointed to seven such aggravating factors — including killings that were particularly heinous, brutal or cruel, and callous, planned and premeditated. Other aggravating factors included that the defendant deliberately created a great risk of death for many people, and that he disrupted a legitimate government function – in this case, the operation of a school.
Together, these aggravating factors “outweigh any mitigation of the defendant’s background or character,” Satz said.
To underscore their argument, prosecutors presented evidence that the gunman spent months scouring the Internet for information about the mass shooting and left messages on social media sharing his explicit desire to “kill” Comment.
Some of his Google searches included broad generic terms like “murder” or “shoot to kill.” Others said he sought information on specific mass shootings and those who carried out them. He also searched for a map of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where he was expelled, and information on “how long it takes for police to show up in school shootings.” On YouTube, Cruz left comments like “I’m going to be a pro school shooter” and promised to “keep on the killing rampage.”
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