Sentencing for Parkland Shooter Delayed due to Hurricane Ian

Isabelle Bartelt ‘26

In anticipation of Hurricane Ian, the sentencing trial of Parkland school shooter NIkolas Cruz has been delayed 3 days as of Tuesday, September 27, 2022. 

The Broward County Courthouse, where Cruz’s trial is being held, is planning on being closed for at least Wednesday (9/28) and Thursday (9/29). Originally the trial proceedings were originally expected to last through the end of the week with a half-day on Friday (9/30). CNN quoted Judge Elizabeth Scherer explaining, “ Even if the courthouse is open (on Friday) the consensus is to finish the doctor’s testimony on Monday (10/3),” after a conferring with state prosecutors and defense attorneys.

The doctor mentioned in Scherer’s statement is forensic psychologist Dr. Charles Scott, who was speaking about the records he reviewed along with spending some time with Cruz. Scott was one of five witnesses called by the prosecution to testify, on Tuesday (9/27). 

CNN also reports that, “During his testimony Scott said Cruz “meets the criteria for a diagnosis called antisocial personality disorder.”

The other two diagnostic conclusions Scott reached were borderline personality disorder and malingering, or the gross exaggeration, but also thinks it is completely possible Cruz was making up some of these symptoms to get a lesser punishment or to get put in a criminal psychiatric ward. This is a common occurrence in criminals who have committed severe crimes because they think that a psychiatric ward is less of a punishment than prison or the death penalty. 

With Hurricane Ian making landfall on Thursday, September 29, we can see all the damage Ian has caused and that gives us the idea that Cruz’s trial may be pushed back ever more due to damage from flooding and heavy winds. 

Cruz’s trial was also delayed because earlier in the month his defense team abruptly rested its case. For which the proceedings just resumed Tuesday (9/27) in Fort Lauderdale when the state prosecutors began their rebuttal. 

After Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day 2018. In the sentencing phase of the trial, jurors are tasked with deciding whether Cruz will get life in prison without the possibility of parole or if he will get the death penalty. And According to Florida law Cruz can’t be give the death penalty without a unanimous decision between the jurors. 

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