What has become a jury selection marathon for the Parkland school shooter’s sentencing is entering the home stretch.
After an eight-day break, the second phase of juror scrutiny concluded Tuesday with 14 more people satisfying the court that they could be impartial enough to make a life-or-death decision for Nikolas Cruz.
Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer has assembled a pool of 83 finalists from which to choose a dozen jurors and up to eight alternates for the sentencing of the 23-year-old.
The judge was determined to have a jury seated by the end of the week.
“We’re getting a jury this week,” she said. “Motions are being heard next week.”
The third and final phase of voir dire begins Wednesday and is expected to end by Friday, if not Thursday.
The proceedings have been fraught with interruptions, delays, and illnesses.
Sign up for our Breaking newsletter to get the most urgent news stories in your inbox.
The first phase of jury selection began April 4 with nearly 400 of more than 1,600 advancing to the second phase.
The judge had hoped to begin the twice-rescheduled sentencing trial by the end of June. Now it looks like it could begin July 5. She expects it to last through the end of October.
Cruz pleaded guilty in October to 17 murders and 17 attempted murders for the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.