Judge schedules Tuesday hearing in Parkland school shooter’s case

Judge Elizabeth Scherer flips though baby photos of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz as they are admitted into the record during the penalty phase of his trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022. Cruz previously plead guilty to all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Pool) (Amy Beth Bennett, © South Florida Sun Sentinel 2022)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer scheduled a hearing for Tuesday afternoon in the case of the Parkland school shooter.

Court records on Monday morning show the hearing on “all pending motions” is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the Judicial Complex North Wing’s courtroom 7750 at 201 SE 6 St., in Fort Lauderdale.

Usually, the proceedings in the case are held at the West Building’s courtroom 17150. Scherer said jurors don’t have to return until 9 a.m., on Sept. 12.

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After McNeill delivered her opening statement on Aug. 22 to attribute the 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland to Nikolas Cruz being “damaged,” the defense presented 24 witnesses in nine days. The defense has about 60 more witnesses.

The prosecutors who are seeking the death penalty rested their case on Aug. 4, after calling 91 witnesses in 12 days, including the 17 survivors injured and the loved ones of the 17 killed who read victim impact statements.

Cruz changed his plea from not guilty to guilty in October. This allowed for only two sentences: Life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. The defense needs to convince only one of the 12 jurors to oppose the death sentence for Cruz to avoid execution.

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The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.