Prosecutors seek investigation after Parkland shooting juror says she was threatened: Report
Prosecutors in the Parkland school shooting case have requested that law enforcement interview one of the members of the 12-person jury after she reported she was threatened by another juror during deliberations, according to reports.
Prosecutors are calling for an investigation into the matter after a juror said she felt threatened while the jury deliberated on whether to recommend a life sentence for Nikolas Cruz, who pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in October 2021 after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018. The shooting was the deadliest mass shooting at a U.S. high school, leaving 14 students and three staff members dead.
JURY RECOMMENDS LIFE SENTENCE, NOT DEATH PENALTY, FOR PARKLAND SCHOOL SHOOTER
“Juror X spoke to a support staff member and informed the support staff member that during deliberations she received what she perceived to be a threat from a fellow juror while in the jury room,” the court filing said, according to CNN. “The State did not call Juror X back and instead, filed a Notice to the Court.”
The court filing did not identify the jury members or their sentence preferences.
The 12-member jury ruled to recommend a life sentence for Cruz on Thursday, bringing an end to the three-month trial filled with graphic videos and testimony. Prosecutors sought the death penalty for the 24-year-old, arguing the attack was calculated and premeditated.
However, the defense argued he did not deserve the death penalty just because he “is a brain-damaged, broken, mentally ill person, through no fault of his own.”
“And in a civilized humane society, do we kill brain-damaged, mentally ill, broken people?” asked defense attorney Melisa McNeill. “Do we? I hope not.”
It’s not clear whether Judge Elizabeth Scherer will comply with the request to compel law enforcement officials to look into the alleged threat.
The latest details give another glimpse into the behind-the-scenes tension among jury members as they deliberated on Cruz’s sentencing. The new court filing follows reports that a juror wrote a letter to the judge calling the deliberation discussions “tense” and denying accusations that she decided to support a life sentence before the trial even began.
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It’s not clear if the juror who wrote that letter is the same juror who reported the alleged threat.
Scherer is set to issue the sentencing against Cruz based on the jury’s recommendation on Nov. 1.