WATCH LIVE at 1:30 p.m.: Judge to review jury instructions in Parkland school shooter’s case

The case of the Parkland school shooter is expected be in the hands of the jury this week, so his defense is asking for changes to the final jury instructions and the prosecution want changes to the verdict forms.

Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer set a hearing to discuss the pending motions at 11 a.m., on Monday, and rescheduled it to 1:30 p.m. The jury won’t be present.

On Sunday, the defense and the prosecution filed two more motions that could potentially delay the case of the 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

First the defense, filed a 14-page motion accusing the prosecution of “misconduct” while “attempting to interfere” with their effort to defend Nikolas Cruz.

Then the prosecution filed a two-page motion asking the judge to prevent the defense from belittling Assistant State Attorney Jeff Marcus over a “meritless” accusation of tampering.


On Thursday, Scherer said she wanted jurors to return to court for closing arguments in the penalty phase on Tuesday and told them to prepare to start deliberations on Wednesday.

Scherer said she plans to dismiss 10 alternate jurors and give charging orders to the 12 jurors, so they can decide if Cruz should be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

Related video: Judge explains the new schedule to the jury

Attorney David Weinstein, a partner with Jones Walker Waechter in Miami, has experience as a prosecutor and has been following the case closely as a legal analyst.

“They are going to have to be focused on weighing what has been presented to them 17 times — they have to come up with 17 different verdicts here,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein also said their 17 verdicts are really a recommendation because the final sentencing is up to Scherer.

EXPLAINER: Penalty phase is ‘close to the end’


Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder last year. The murder counts allowed only two sentences: Life in prison without the possibility of parole or death.

The prosecution rested on Aug. 4 after calling 91 witnesses in 12 days, and the public defenders who are trying to save his life rested on Sept. 14 after calling 26 witnesses in 11 days.

Florida requires a jury’s unanimous vote to recommend death for each of the 17 counts of murder. The defense aims to convince one of the 12 jurors to choose life for all 17 murder cases, so Cruz can avoid execution.

If Scherer sentences Cruz to the death penalty, and he has exhausted all appeals, then Cruz will face execution.


The 17 counts are in the order of the murders as detectives concluded happened on Feb. 14, 2018.

Count 1: Luke Hoyer

Count 2: Martin Duque

Count 3: Gina Montalto

Count 4: Alex Schachter

Count 5: Alaina Petty

Count 6: Alyssa Alhadeff

Count 7: Nicholas Dworet

Count 8: Helena Ramsay

Count 9: Christopher Hixon

Count 10: Carmen Schentrup

Count 11: Aaron Feis

Count 12: Scott Beigel

Count 13: Meadow Pollack

Count 14: Cara Loughran

Count 15: Joaquin Oliver

Count 16: Jaime Guttenberg

Count 17: Peter Wang

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