WATCH LIVE: Jurors learn more about Cruz’s rifle, view pathologist’s images of victims
Nikolas Cruz’s defense continued to attempt to limit the evidence that the prosecution is showing to the jurors — who will have to decide if he should be executed for his Feb. 14, 2018 crimes at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland.
On Tuesday, the assistant public defenders took issue with two images that the prosecution showed during witness testimony in a 17th-floor Broward County courtroom in Fort Lauderdale. Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer allowed the evidence before scheduling a two-hour recess.
The first witness was Michael Morrison, the co-owner of Sunrise Tactical Supply in Coral Springs. It was there that Cruz, then 19 years old, legally purchased the AR-15 rifle that he used to shoot 34 people in the school’s three-story 1200 building.
“I go shooting with my friends on the weekend. I just want my own stuff,” Cruz said to explain his purchase, according to Morrison’s testimony.
Assistant State Attorney Michael J. Satz displayed a receipt showing Cruz paid $618.74 for the Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport II with serial number TF16214. It was $579 plus $34.74 in tax. Morrison said the state determined Cruz was approved to buy the rifle.
The second witness was Dr. Rebecca M. MacDougall, a pathologist who performed the autopsies of some of the victims of the Valentine’s Day massacre at the school. As she testified about 14-year-old Alex Schachter’s injuries, his father, Max Schachter, started to shake. He was in tears.
Cruz killed his little boy during English class in classroom 1216. MacDougall said his cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.” She added during her testimony that “high-velocity rounds often fragment” when entering the victim’s body.
MacDougall also testified about the autopsies of Schachter’s classmate 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, who died in classroom 1216, and Scott Beigel, a 35-year-old geography teacher and cross-country coach who died on the third floor.
Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in October. His defense has yet to present an opening statement and a list of witnesses who will likely focus on Cruz’s mental health, his stressors, and systemic failures.
The 12 jurors, who are seated in two rows and among the 10 alternate jurors, will have to consider each victim and vote on whether or not Cruz deserves to die for his crimes. Without the jury’s unanimous vote, Scherer will have to sentence Cruz to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Coverage from court
Day 1 | July 18: Emotions in courtroom high during penalty phase trial for Parkland school shooterDay 2 | July 19: Jurors hear former MSD students testify about being shot, watching friends die
Day 3 | July 20: Former Parkland student bares scars to jurors
Day 4 | July 21: After Valentine’s Day massacre at MSD, shooter slurped on ICEE, video showsDay 5 | July 22: Jurors see evidence, hear difficult testimony
Day 6 | July 23: Prosecution calls Uber driver, detectives, pathologists, survivorDay 7 | July 24: Expert commentary on Facebook Live with Anchor Janine Stanwood