Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) had some sharp words over the life sentence handed down to Nikolas Cruz, the man who pleaded guilty to murdering 17 people in a Florida high school in 2018.
"I think that if you have a death penalty at all, that is a case where you’re massacring those students with premeditation and utter disregard for basic humanity, that you deserve the death penalty," said DeSantis at an unrelated Cape Coral press conference.
BREAKING: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reacts to the recommendation of a life sentence for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz — ripping the justice system for "not serving the interest of victims." pic.twitter.com/lA0AqbA9Ef— Newsmax (@newsmax) October 13, 2022
"That means that this killer is going to end up getting the same sentence as people who have committed bad acts but acts that did not rise to this level," he continued. "I just don’t think anything else is appropriate except the capital sentence in this case. So I was very disappointed to see that. I’m also disappointed that we’re four-and-a-half years after those killings and we’re just now getting this. They used to do this, he would have been executed in six months. 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."
DeSantis' Democratic opponent for Governor, Charlie Crist, agreed.
"There are crimes for which the only just penalty is death. The Parkland families and community deserved that degree of justice," Crist tweeted.
Cruz shot 14 students and three adults to death at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on February 24, 2018, and admitted to attempting to murder 17 others. The jury in the case could not reach a unanimous decision on sentencing Cruz to death, which means he'll spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Under Florida law, a death sentence requires a unanimous vote on at least one count. The seven-man, five-woman jury unanimously agreed there were aggravating factors to warrant a possible death sentence, such as agreeing that the murders were “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.”
But one or more jurors also found mitigating factors, such as untreated childhood issues. In the end, the jury could not agree that the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating ones, so Cruz will get life without parole. -Epoch Times
"We went through all the evidence and some of the jurors just felt that was the appropriate sentence," said Jury foreman Benjamin Thomas, in an interview broadcast on local TV station WPLG - indicating that more than one juror was involved in the 'no' decision. "I didn’t vote that way, so I’m not happy with how it worked out, but everyone has the right to decide for themselves."
Cruz will formally receive his life sentence on Nov. 1 by Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer, when relatives, students and teachers Cruz wounded will be allowed the opportunity to speak.