Public defender reacts to verdict in Parkland school shooter’s case

A Broward County jury recommended life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Parkland school shooter.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Public Defender Gordon Weekes praised the jury for carrying out “a solemn responsibility” on Thursday after putting an end to the penalty phase of the Parkland school shooter by recommending life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Weekes also asked the community to respect the jury’s verdict, which was part of the judicial system we cherish and abide by.

“With the greatest bit of sympathy, we attempted to prepare this case and present this case in the most professional and legal manner that we could,” Weekes said.

Related story: Factors and circumstances jury considered

Fred Guttenberg, who lost his 14-year-old daughter Jaime during the 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, disagreed. He said the outcome set a horrible precedent.

“To be a defense attorney in a situation like this, I get it you have a job, but it doesn’t mean you need to lose your humanity towards the victims — which they did,” Guttenberg said.

Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer said sentencing is on Nov. 1 and the families of the victims will be allowed to speak.

After the sentencing, the Broward Sheriff’s Office will transfer the killer to the South Florida Reception Center in Doral where he will be assigned to a prison where he will remain for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole.

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About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.