The two-day sentencing trial for Parkland School shooter Nikolas Cruz has concluded. Cruz received a sentence of 34 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole for the vicious mass school shooting, RadarOnline.com has learned.
Cruz pled guilty in October 2021 of killing seventeen of his fellow students and teachers at his high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine's Day 2018.
However, after an emotional trial, jurors were unable to render an unanimous sentence in favor of the death penalty.
This was largely due to Cruz's defense team, who painted the shooter — who is responsible for the worst school shooting in the nation's history — as a troubled student.
The two-day sentencing trial allowed victim's families and survivors to directly address Cruz before Florida Judge Elizabeth Scherer handed down the life sentence.
In addition to his life sentences, Cruz was ordered to pay restitution to victim's families and was placed under the Son of Sam law, which prohibits him from collecting financial benefits from his story.
Legal ramifications barred the victims' loved ones from using specific language, wearing clothes or other items in memory of their loved ones in court, as well as refraining from emotional outbursts and making expressive faces — even as their loved one's autopsy reports were read aloud.
These parameters resulted in explosive testimony from families and friends, who released their inner most feelings onto Cruz for what he had taken from them four years earlier on that February day.
The parents of 14-year-old shooting victim Jamie Guttenberg previously announced that they would not be making statements during the two-day sentencing trial. However, due to unruly outburst and what the court felt as inappropriate behavior from the defense council, the parents decided to address their daughter's murderer on the final day in court.
"You shouldn't be sitting there with a mask on your face," Jennifer Guttenberg, Jamie's mother, said to Cruz in her statement. "It's disrespectful, for you to be hiding your expressions under your mask, when we the families are sitting here talking to you."
The emotional address to Cruz resulted in him removing the mask he wore throughout the trial.
Another parent, Max Schachter, the father of shooting victim Alex Schachter, delivered a scathing statement to Cruz that represented the agony that the families had to endure since the devastating mass shooting.
"That creature has no redeemable value," Schachter said in his address to Cruz. "And the other prisoners that you encounter in your new life will inflict that pain upon you, hopefully 17 times over again."
Other statements directly called out the defense's strategy to paint Cruz as a victim.
"Was this mass murderer a victim when he put the gun to my sister's chest and shot her?," Anthony Montalto III said when speaking on behalf of his late sister, Gina Montalto. "Was he a victim when he shot her again? Was he a victim when he shot her two more times on his second pass?"
"Some jurors may have thought so," Montalto III continued. "But I know he is just a murdering b------."
The grieving brother added that he hoped the jurors "regret their decision" after the day of statements.