Florida Judge Sentences Parkland School Shooter To Life In Prison Without Parole
Amy Beth Bennett-Pool/Getty Images

The Parkland shooter who killed 17 people on Valentine’s Day in 2018 was formally sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Wednesday after a Florida jury rejected the death penalty last month.

The shooter, who The Daily Wire will not name, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder last year, which included 14 students as young as 14 years old and three staff members, for the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Associated Press reported Judge Elizabeth Scherer sentenced the shooter to 17 consecutive life terms.

Judge Scherer had no choice but to hand down the sentence after the jury, composed of seven men and five women, voted 9-3 on October 13 to sentence the shooter to death. Florida law requires the vote to be unanimous to impose the death penalty.

The jury foreman in the trial determining the fate of the Parkland High School shooter said three of the 12 jurors opted for a life sentence in prison.

Benjamin Thomas, the jury foreman, told CBS Miami that one juror refused to vote in favor of executing the gunman because she believed he had some form of mental illness. Her belief may have been why two more jurors ultimately voted with her.

“There was one with a hard no — she couldn’t do it — and there was another two that ended up voting the same way,” Thomas said, adding that the verdict to put the shooter in prison for life without parole disappointed him, but he respected the other jurors’ choices.

The judge’s voice broke as she read the first of the 34 life sentences, according to The Associated Press. But she recovered strength and volume while family members sobbed during the sentencing.

Judge Scherer called the families and wounded victims who testified strong, graceful, and patient.

“I know you are going to be OK because you have each other,” Scherer said.

“I want to thank the family members for the privilege of learning about each and every one of your loved ones,” Scherer said before the official sentencing Wednesday. “I can tell you they will not be forgotten.”

Defense attorneys for the shooter argued that his mother drank during pregnancy, causing the shooter to have fetal alcohol syndrome that went undetected throughout his life.

Lori Alhadeff, the mother of 14-year-old Alyssa, who was killed on that dreadful day four years ago, said the victims’ relatives are “beyond disappointed with the outcome.”

“This should have been the death penalty — 100%,” Alhadeff said, according to The Associated Press. “I sent my daughter to school, and she was shot eight times. I cannot understand. I just don’t understand.”

Axios reported Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) expressed disappointment with the 12-person jury’s decision to recommend life in prison instead of the death penalty.

“I think that if you have a death penalty at all, that that is a case — where you’re massacring those students, with premeditation, in utter disregard of basic humanity — that you deserve the death penalty,” DeSantis said last month.

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