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Parkland jurors see blood, bullet holes and roses at massacre scene

Jury visits Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre

The roses that celebrated love on that Valentine's Day 2018 have withered, and the dried and cracked petals that litter the classroom floor bear the remains of a victim shot by a former student more than four years ago. It was still stained with human blood.

At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a shattered bullet hole pierced a wall, a window shattered glass at his feet, and Nicholas Cruz shot 14 students and 3 staff members.Nothing had changed except that the bodies of the victims and some personal belongings were taken away.

A twelve juror and his ten jury assistants will decide whether Cruz will be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.On Thursday, I made a rare visit to the site of the massacre. A three-story freshman building known as "Building 12". After they left, a group of journalists — (including CBS Miami's Joan Murray) – were allowed a much quicker initial public release. .

"Time really stood still," said Murray.

A sign reading ``1240 West Window'' and his five You can see the bullet holes. Marjorie Stoneman at the crime scene of the 2018 mass shooting at his Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.  Amy Beth Bennett / AP

The sight was terribly disturbing: large puddles of dried blood still stained the classroom floor. A tuft of dark hair hung over the floor where one of his victims' bodies had once lay. One black rubber shoe in the hallway. Six people died as brown rose petals littered the corridors.

Notebook after notebook opened in the classroom showing unfinished lessons. A bloody book called "Tell Them We Remember" lay on the desk in a bullet-riddled classroom, where teacher Ivy Shamis was teaching students about the Holocaust. A sign on the bulletin board read, "We will never forget." Two students died there.

In the classroom of English teacher Darah Hass, where the most students were shot, there was an essay about Malala Yousafzai. Malala Yousafzai, her teenager in Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban while attending school, has since become a global advocate. She for access to education for women and girls.

"The bullet hit her in the head, but not in her brain," wrote one student. “We go to school every day and take it all for granted,” wrote another. "We cry and complain, not knowing how lucky we are to be able to learn." pushed open. It shows Cruz firing, just like the others. On the wall inside was a sign that read, "No Bully Zone." The creative writing challenge for the day was on the whiteboard. "How to Write the Perfect Love Letter".

James Dean's words still hang on the walls of the second-floor hallway.

In the geography class of the murdered teacher Scott Beigel, the laptop was still open on his desk. Student assignments comparing Christian and Islamic beliefs remained, some scored and some unscored. Beigel, the school's cross-country coach, had written on a whiteboard the gold, silver, and bronze medalists for each event of the Winter Olympics, which began five days earlier.

Prosecutors, who dropped the charges after a jury round, said the visit would help prove Cruz's actions were cold, calculated, vicious and cruel. I hope Putting many people in great danger of death and "obstructing the functioning of the government" - all aggravating factors under Florida's death penalty law.

Florida court rules stipulated that neither judges nor attorneys were allowed to speak to jurors, and jurors were not allowed to speak to each other when Cruz followed the trail on February 14. was not allowed. In 2018, he went from floor to floor, firing into hallways and classrooms. Prior to the tour, jurors had already seen surveillance video of the shooting and photos of its aftermath.

The building was sealed and enclosed in a 15-foot (4.6 m) chain link fence, wrapped in zip ties for privacy his mesh his screen. It looms eerily over the school and its teachers, staff, and his 3,300 students, and can be easily seen by anyone nearby. The Broward County school district plans to demolish it whenever prosecutors approve. It's just a courtroom display.

"When you drive past it's there. When you go to class it's there. It's a huge structure you can't miss," said Kai Kerber, a Stoneman Douglas junior. . when shooting. He is currently at the University of California, Berkeley and is a developer of a mental health phone app. "It's a constant reminder. It's incredibly painful and terrifying."

Cruz, 23, said in October that he pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder. The trial will only decide whether he will be sentenced to death or life without parole.

David S., Miami defense attorney. Weinstein said prosecutors hoped the visit would be "the last piece of the jury's suspicion that the death penalty is the only recommendation."

Such crime scene visits are rare. Weinstein, a former prosecutor, said he had just one of more than 150 jury trials dating back to the late 1980s.

Visits to crime scenes are not considered in most trials. Because it can give a false sense of what happened, unlike where the crime happened years later. But in this case, the building was on lockdown so it could be done.

Cruz's attorneys argue prosecutors have provocative evidence, including Thursday's visit, not only to prove their allegations, but to incite jurors' passion. claims to have used

After a jury returned to court on Thursday, the mother of two victims testified that the massacre had permanently overshadowed not only Valentine's Day but other important family celebrations. .

Seventeen-year-old Helena Ramsay died on her father's birthday. "The day is never a celebration and it will never be the same day for him," said her mother, Anne Ramsay.

Hui He Wan, whose 15-year-old son Peter was killed, said the shooting occurred the day before Chinese New Year. The planned celebration was canceled that year and every year since.

"This day of unity has been the most painful," she said.

Athletic His director Chris His Rickson wife and her 26-year-old son with special needs also heard from the victim's family on his fourth and final day. I spoke to the jury. Hickson, a 49-year-old Navy veteran, died after crashing into a building while trying to stop Cruz and protect his students.

Corey Hixon described a weekly donut-eating ritual with his father.

"I miss him," he said simply.

Before the jury visited the site of the massacre, Judge Elizabeth Scherrer questioned Cruz's decision not to go,CBS Miami said

Do you understand that under Florida law and the Constitution, you have a right to attend today's view?

"Yes ma'am," he replied.

"Do you understand that today we will all be present and the jury will inspect the crime scene?" she asked. "Is it your decision that I do not want to attend?"

"Yes," he replied.

"Are there any uncertainties about your decision?" she asked.

"No ma'am.

Shooting at high school in Parkland, Florida
Florida Parkland State High School

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