Judge says OK to jury tour of mass-shooting crime scene

Marjory Stoneman Douglas 1200 building remains intact from 2018 shooting

A padlock remains on the door to the building where gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire. File photo: Aug. 15, 2018.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Broward County School District plans to demolish Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s three-story 1200 building, the scene where Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people and wounded another 17 on Feb. 14, 2018.

But that won’t be until after the penalty phase trial that will decide if Cruz will spend life in prison or pay with his own life for his crime.

On Thursday, Judge Elizabeth Scherer sided with the prosecution in allowing the 12-member jury site to tour the building, which has been preserved for the last four years as a crime scene. Shortly after the shooting, the building was fenced off and sealed. Dried blood, Valentine’s Day gifts and bullet holes still remain in place.

The defense in the case of the State of Florida vs. Nikolas Cruz had asked Scherer that the request be blocked, arguing that seeing the site was “highly prejudicial.” The state’s position to the judge was that the crime scene is relevant as evidence to aggravating factors.

“This Court finds that its probative value is not substantially outweighed by its prejudicial effect,” Scherer said in denying the order.

About the Authors:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."