Loved ones of Parkland shooting victims reflect as trial’s penalty phase nears end

As the life or death verdict for confessed Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz nears, parents and relatives are reacting and reflecting, and many of them are also advocating for a death sentence.

PARKLAND, Fla. – As the life or death verdict for confessed Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz nears, parents and relatives are reacting and reflecting, and many of them are also advocating for a death sentence.

Tony Montalto’s 14-year-old daughter Gina Rose Montalto was one of the 17 shot dead in February of 2018.

“He deserves every chance that he gave my daughter Gina, her classmates, and her teachers that day,” said Montalto. “He showed no mercy. He went back and made sure that many of the victims were dead by making a second pass over them as they lay there, wounded or dying.”

The sentencing trial has forced parents like Montalto to relive the trauma of the tragedy.

Montalto said his family looks forward to forgetting about the name and image of Nikolas Cruz.

Debbie Hixon lost her husband, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Athletic Director Chris Hixon.

“I hope we put to rest his name and his picture, and that we continue to honor the victims and that we don’t mention his name again,” she said.

Hixon also wants to see a death sentence.

“In showing that this was a cold, calculated and planned out murder, murders, and that this person is void of any true emotion,” she said. “And I think they presented a very good case.”


About the Author:

Cody Weddle joined Local 10 News as a full-time reporter in South Florida in August of 2022. Before that, Cody worked regularly with Local 10 since January of 2017 as a foreign correspondent in Venezuela and Colombia.