Parkland school shooting

Parkland School Shooter's Penalty Trial Begins With Alternate Juror Questioned

Opening statements begin at sentencing trial for Nikolas Cruz

Lead prosecutor Michael Satz delivers his opening statement at the Parkland school shooting sentencing trial.

The penalty trial of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz began on Monday with the questioning of an alternate juror accused of discussing the case at a doctor's office.

Lawyers and Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer spent the first 20 minutes at a sidebar before Scherer brought in the alternate juror.

The juror denied the accusation, and Scherer said she can't take the word of an affiant she does not know over the juror, and moved on.

A short time later lead prosecutor Michael Satz began his opening statements.

“Cold, calculated, manipulative and deadly” was how Satz described him, describing a video Cruz made three days before the massacre.

“This is what the defendant said: ‘Hello, my name is Nik I’m going to be the next school shooter of 2018. My goal is at least 20 people with an AR15 and some tracer rounds. It’s going to be a big event and when you see me on the news you’ll know who I am. You’re all going to die. Ah yeah, I can’t wait. Ah yeah, I can’t wait.’"

About 50 family members of the victims were in the courtroom, sitting together in a roped off section. It wasn't clear if anyone, aside from his defense lawyers, was there to support Cruz.

The trial for the former Stoneman Douglas student, expected to last about four months, was supposed to begin in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic and legal fights delayed it.

NBC 6 and AP
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