After less than two days of deliberation, the jury gave the Parkland school shooter a life sentence without parole. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) responded to the news, saying that the crime warranted the death penalty.
BREAKING: Jury recommends life sentence for Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruzhttps://t.co/zR4uuq8nYf
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) October 13, 2022
On Thursday, the Republican governor reacted to the lesser sentence given to the individual who murdered 17 people — including 14 high school students — during a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.
“I think that if you have a death penalty at all, that that is a case where you’re massacring those students with premeditation and other disregard for basic humanity, that you deserve the death penalty,” DeSantis said.
The Florida governor went on to note that 11 out of the 12 jurors had decided on the death penalty, but could not convince the final juror. He also expressed his disappointment with the fact that it took “four and a half years after these killings” to finally get to the murderer’s sentencing — saying that “they used to” have a more condensed process where “he would have been executed in six months.”
“And so the jurors came back; apparently it was eleven to one, with one holdout refusing to authorize the ultimate punishment, and that means that this killer’s going to end up getting the same sentence as people who committed bad acts but acts that did not rise to this level,” DeSantis said. “I just don’t think anything else is appropriate except the capital sentence in this case, and so I was very disappointed to see that. I’m also disappointed that we’re four and a half years after these killings and we’re just now getting this.”
“You know, they used to do this: He would have been executed in six months,” the governor added. “He’s guilty. Everybody knew that from the beginning, and yet it takes years and years in this legal system that is not serving the interest of victims.”
The only appropriate sentence for the massacre of 17 innocent people is the death penalty. That the jury had a single holdout refuse to authorize a capital sentence represents a miscarriage of justice.
My prayers are with the Parkland families. pic.twitter.com/f2M0Fw1SLo
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 13, 2022
Many people in the courtroom at the time of the sentencing were disturbed or frustrated by the jury’s decision.
Some of the parents of murdered students spoke out about the news.
“The monster that killed them gets to live another day … Society has to really look and re-examine who and what is a victim,” said Tony Montalto, father of Gina, a 14-year-old victim of the shooting.
Dr. Ilan Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter Alyssa was also a victim, said that he was “disgusted” — both with the jury and the legal system itself, asking: “What do we have the death penalty for?”