Parkland school shooting: Why the gunman was spared the death penalty

It was the deadliest mass shooting to reach a jury trial in the US, and on a day that was already high in emotion, many families left the court in Florida on Thursday confused and in tears.

“We are just shocked by this result and it is so unjust,” Lynn Chen, a cousin of Parkland victim Peter Wang, said. “How can he live another day?”

The jury’s decision to recommend life in prison and not the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz – who shot dead 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 – sparked an emotional outcry from the victims’ relatives who had gathered in the court.

“This animal is still going to have life in prison without parole,” one mother, Linda Schulman, said. “I hope he has the fear in him every second of his life. Why do we have the death penalty at all?”

Parkland teacher Ivy Schamis, who testified at the trial how two pupils in her class died in the attack, told the BBC she was devastated.

“He [the gunman] will live his life,” she said. “He will probably…

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