Parkland shooting: Jury begins deliberations on sentencing

A jury has begun deliberations on the fate of the gunman responsible for a 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Nikolas Cruz, 24, had pleaded guilty in October last year to 17 counts of murder and attempted murder.

The jury will decide whether the gunman should be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.

The case is the deadliest mass shooting to reach a jury trial in the US.

Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer delivered instructions to the jury on Wednesday morning before they were sequestered for deliberations. Survivors of the shooting were also in the court room.

“It is now your duty to make a decision as to the appropriate sentence that should be imposed on Nikolas Jacob Cruz”, Judge Scherer told the 12 jurors, emphasizing that “a human life is at stake”.

During the trial, which began in July, prosecutors argued the gunman planned a “systematic massacre” of 14 students and three staff members at Parkland, and that he should be sentenced to death.

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