Judge cancels Tuesday hearing in Parkland school shooter’s case
Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer canceled a hearing for Tuesday afternoon in the case of the Parkland school shooter.
Court records on Monday morning showed the hearing on “all pending motions” was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the Judicial Complex North Wing’s courtroom 7750 at 201 SE 6 St., in Fort Lauderdale.
On Thursday, Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill warned she was filing a motion to “prohibit” the state from seeking the death penalty and complained about Scherer not ruling on a motion about “prejudicial” evidence.
Also, Scherer denied a motion for mistrial based on the accusation that Scherer was not allowing them to omit antisemitic symbols from evidence and received an affidavit on a witness’s perception of a call from a prosecutor before his testimony.
After McNeill delivered her opening statement on Aug. 22 to attribute the 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland to Cruz being “damaged,” the defense presented 24 witnesses in nine days. The defense has about 60 more witnesses.
The prosecutors who are seeking the death penalty rested their case on Aug. 4, after calling 91 witnesses in 12 days, including the 17 survivors injured and the loved ones of the 17 killed who read victim impact statements.
Cruz changed his plea from not guilty to guilty in October. This allowed for only two sentences: Life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. The defense needs to convince only one of the 12 jurors to oppose the death sentence for Cruz to avoid execution.
The court notified jurors they need to be back in the courtroom at 9 a.m., on Sept. 12.
Related public records
John Vesey’s affidavit
Watch a video of the defense’s allegation
Watch a video of Vesey’s testimony
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Local 10 News Futures Planner/Assignment Desk Editor Kerry Weston contributed to this report.