parkland school shooting

Parkland Shooter Sentencing May Be Delayed Until June

Since this pre-selection process began April 4, a total of 270 prospective jurors have been chosen out of 1,226 in the jury pool.

NBC 6

The sentencing of confessed mass murderer Nikolas Cruz may be delayed two more weeks.

It was scheduled to begin May 31 and continue through September. Now, it might begin June 13.

Late Wednesday, defense attorneys asked for more time to depose new expert witnesses brought in by the prosecution.

Concerned about delays to the delicate jury selection timetable, Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer said she would take yet another look at the calendar before deciding.

“In what universe does it take three months to select a jury?” asked an exasperated Scherer, rhetorically.

Earlier in the day, three more women abruptly left the court proceedings, two men suffered health problems, and one man was kept apart from the jury pool for being belligerent in the final day of jury pre-selection for the sentencing of Cruz.

In six days of questioning, 12 women and one man were overcome with emotion when they realized they were being considered to make a life or death decision for the 23-year-old convicted killer.

There were 58 jurors chosen from nearly 240 on Wednesday.

They included one man who was rude to court personnel. He allegedly wanted to leave the courthouse and was separated from the others on the jury pool so he wouldn’t “poison the well,” the judge was told.

Another man -- a retiree from the military and law enforcement -- said he was, "not really interested in being on this case or any case," but the judge selected him, preliminarily, anyway.

A woman was picked despite stating she worked for the Broward Sheriff’s Office. She started to explain she lived with a deputy who responded to the scene of the mass shooting that Cruz is convicted of committing. The judge interrupted the woman and said that issue would be addressed at another time.   

Since this pre-selection process began April 4, a total of 270 prospective jurors have been chosen out of 1,226 in the jury pool.

Most of those excused had expressed hardships that included financial stress, employment, attending school, caring for children or sick relatives, travel plans, and personal health issues. A few were getting married or having a baby.

Several pre-selected jurors have submitted hardship forms after the fact and will likely be subtracted from the 270.

The remainder will return to court to be pared down even more.

Cruz pled guilty to 17 charges of murder and 17 charges of attempted murder following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Feb. 14, 2018. He is facing life in prison or the death penalty.

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