Testimony in Parkland shooting trial penalty phase delayed nearly 2 weeks, judge rules

Local 10 News obtains copy of jury questionnaire

Trial testimony in the Parkland school shooting capital case has been pushed back by nearly two weeks.

PARKLAND, Fla. – Trial testimony in the Parkland school shooting capital case has been pushed back by nearly two weeks.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer ruled on Monday that testimony initially scheduled for May 31 will now begin on June 13.

The delay will allow both sides to prepare for a pre-trial hearing pertaining to the admissibility of complicated neurological evidence.

Jury selection in the death penalty case resumes Monday and is expected to run through May.

A 12-member death-qualified jury will need to decide whether confessed Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz pays for the murder of 17 MSD students and staff on Valentine’s Day of 2018 with his life.

Last week the defense accused the state of a discovery violation for listing four additional witnesses after the start of the jury pre-selection process.

The state told the Court it was not intentional, but rather it took that long to find experts to speak about certain complex neuroimaging tools and reports that the defense, they claim, only provided to them last month. The also said they noticed the defense as soon as the experts were hired.

The Court found that “the State was entitled to seek out experts who it believes may take a different view,” and that after hearing from both sides, “considering the circumstances surrounding this matter, there was no discovery violation on the part of the State.”

For this reason, the judge said she is not excluding the experts and since there was no violation found, there is no need for a Richardson inquiry.

In a separate order, the judge has ruled on a media request for a copy of the jury questionnaire and trial calendar distributed to prospective jurors.

The defense had argued that releasing the documents would “affect his fair trial rights,” but the judge in her order states that the defense did not present supporting evidence of how releasing the documents would “compromise his constitutional rights” and stated that “the Court finds that the subject materials are public record under the applicable law and that no pertinent exemptions exist.”

VIEW BELOW: Jury questionnaire issued for penalty phase of Parkland school shooter’s penalty phase trial.


About the Author:

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."