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Judge: Jury can tour school building where 17 were murdered

Posted at 10:32 AM, Apr 05, 2022

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The jury that will decide whether Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz gets a death sentence will tour the blood-stained, bullet-pocked building where he murdered 17 people four years ago.

Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer rejected a defense argument that a jury tour of the three-story building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School isn’t necessary because there are videos and photos of the crime scene.

Cruz’s lawyers said the tour was particularly unnecessary since he pleaded guilty in October and the jury will only decide if he's executed. But Scherer disagreed, instead agreeing with the prosecution that the tour “remains useful and proper.”

Jury selection began Monday in Broward County. Twelve jurors will determine if Cruz will spend the rest of his life in prison, without the possibility of parole, or if he will be sentenced to death.

Florida's death penalty law was changed in 2017. Now, all 12 jurors must agree— making the death sentence unanimous.