Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

New Hardships Pop Up for a Few Jurors in Parkland School Shooter's Sentencing

Some jurors facing new problems with serving on marathon sentencing trial

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Some potential jurors who made it through the first round of screening for the sentencing of convicted mass murderer Nikolas Cruz are finding new hardships that are getting them excused from the second round.

On Wednesday, a woman said she had short-term memory loss issues since her treatment for a brain aneurism. A man said he had to care for a grandchild because his daughter was about to give birth and his wife was caring for her own sick sister in Chicago.

So, circumstances have changed for some of those who survived the selection process that began April 4 including unexpected health issues, job workloads, income instability and childcare needs.

Nearly 400 of more than 1,600 people questioned initially had no scheduling conflicts that prevented them from serving during the sentencing trial that's expected to run through to October.

The jury pool continues to drain before defense attorneys and prosecutors get the chance to question those remaining about their feelings on the death penalty.

One man thought death would be the "easy way out."

"I think putting someone in prison is a worse punishment because they would have to think about what they did for the rest of their lives," he said.

Since the second round of screenings began Monday, about two dozen of nearly 70 made it to the next round.

Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer hopes to have 150 prospective jurors from which to choose 12 finalists and eight alternates.

This second round could last at least five more weeks with the sentencing expected to begin by the end of June.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys want to know if the remaining jury candidates can be impartial and unbiased when considering the death penalty or life in prison for the 23-year-old.

Cruz has pleaded guilty to 17 murders and 17 attempted murders for the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14, 2018.

Click here for complete coverage of the Parkland school shooting jury selection

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