Parkland Shooter Penalty Trial Set To Begin

Cruz, now 22, killed 17 people in 2019.

In this file photo, Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz speaks with Public Defender Melisa McNeill before a pre-trial hearing at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, on four criminal counts stemming from his alleged attack on a Broward jail guard in November 2018. (Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

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The trial to determine whether the Parkland, Fla., high school shooter should be executed started Monday. Prosecutor Mike Satz opened the day by detailing how Nikolas Cruz massacred his 17 victims.

The prosecutor also relayed how Cruz, 22, announced the 2019 attack on video, prior to when it took place.

“This is what the defendant said: ‘Hello, my name is Nik. I’m going to be the next school shooter of 2018. My goal is at least 20 people with an AR-15 and some tracer rounds. It’s going to be a big event, and when you see me on the news, you’ll know who I am. You’re all going to die. Ah yeah, I can’t wait,'” Satz said.

Cruz’s fate will be determined by a seven-man, five-woman jury. The group is expected to decide whether he is sentenced to life without parole, or outright executed.

It is the deadliest mass shooting ever to go before a jury.

“After Satz spoke, Cruz’s lawyers announced that they would not give their opening statement until it is time to present their case weeks from now,” the Associated Press reported. “That is a rare and risky strategy because it gives Satz the only say before jurors examine grisly evidence and hear testimony from survivors and the victims’ parents and spouses.”

In all, 14 students and three staff members were killed by Cruz, now 23.

“Some were shot sitting at their desks, some as they fled, some as they lay wounded on the floor as Cruz methodically stalked through a three-story building for almost seven minutes,” the AP added.

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