WATCH: Parkland Victim’s Grandma Tells Gunman to “Burn in Hell”
The sentencing hearing for the gunman in the February 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting began on Tuesday, with the victims’ families giving emotional addresses to the shooter.
Nikolas Cruz, 24, fatally shot 14 students and three staff members and wounded 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. He evaded the death penalty under Florida law, with a jury recommending that he be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
On Tuesday, survivors and family members of those killed in the shooting gave powerful statements to Cruz in a Fort Lauderdale court before the sentence is formally announced.
Many victims’ family members expressed outrage at the jury’s verdict, arguing that Cruz’s heinous crimes warranted the death penalty.
Terri Rabinovitz, grandmother of 14-year-old victim Alyssa Alhadeff, told Cruz that he should “write a book on how you and your defense counsel beat the judicial system and got away with murder.”
“I’m too old to see you live out your life sentence, but I hope your every breathing moment here on earth is miserable and you repent for your sins, Nikolas, and burn in hell,” Rabinovitz said.
Patricia Oliver, mother of 17-year-old victim Joaquin, delivered an impassioned statement, saying that if this case “doesn’t deserve the death penalty, what does?”
“You had in your head enjoyment,” Oliver said directly to Cruz. “Listen to me, defendant — enjoyment while killing my son, Joaquin Oliver, and coming back to him to blow his brain out.”
“Your living hell is about to get started,” she said. “Joaquin is a legend for what he is and for what he will be. Nice, kind, humble. And you will remember every single day of your life about what Joaquin is.”
Max Schachter, father of 14-year-old victim Alex, accused Cruz’s attorneys of “making the mental health crisis in America worse by misrepresenting what actually happened to the Parkland murderer.”
“The defense, in their closing argument, said if he had just had the proper diagnosis, things would be different,” Schachter said. “Nothing would’ve changed. … He was on medicine after medicine … and he still wants to kill.”
Schachter said Cruz grew up “in a loving home” raised by a mother who tried to help him.
“He had well over 200 individual sessions with mental health professionals. … They tried everything, they couldn’t have given him more services,” he continued.
“But you can’t fix evil.”
“He hunted down innocent children and staff, terrified then tortured them, blew their heads apart like a water balloon and enjoyed it,” Schachter said, adding that Cruz “does not deserve to live amongst us.”
Schachter said, while incarcerated, Cruz “gets to receive phone calls, boxes of fan mail. He gets to fall in love and get married. He gets a tablet to email and text people. He gets to receive visitors. He gets to watch TV … and even get a college degree.”
Photo: Screenshot from ABCNews.com
2 comments on WATCH: Parkland Victim’s Grandma Tells Gunman to “Burn in Hell”
I agree with the mother.
Personally I have come to not believe in the death penalty but reading this I would be very tempted to reverse that belief. The list of privileges he has been given since the crime was committed show some of what he has taken away from his victims. He should not be allowed such free and easy privileges. Humanely he is entitled to some but not in the same degree as if it never happened. I feel deeply for the victim’s families. How it must pain our Creator to see such actions against others.
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