(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) Grieving parents, friends and relatives of the 17 victims who were killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Parkland high school slammed the life sentence handed down Thursday for the killer, arguing that the death penalty would have been more appropriate, a sentiment that was shared by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
When informed that there was reportedly a lone holdout on the jury for a life sentence, the father of one of the teens who lost her life reacted with an emotional outpouring.
“One juror either didn’t understand the facts in this case, or was dishonest with themselves when they signed up to become a juror and would haver never voted for the death penalty,” said Ryan Petty, father of Alaina. “Because you cannot look at the facts of this case, look at the cruel and inhumane way the 17 victims were treated…”
DeSantis voiced the same frustrations and outrage at the jury’s verdict.
“I think that if you have a death penalty at all, that that is a case where you’re massacring those students with premeditation and other disregard for basic humanity, that you deserve the death penalty,” DeSantis said.
“I just don’t think anything else is appropriate except the capital sentence in this case, and so I was very disappointed to see that,” he said. “I’m also disappointed that we’re four and a half years after these killings and we’re just now getting this.
“You know, they used to do this: He would have been executed in six months,” DeSantis said.
“He’s guilty. Everybody knew that from the beginning, and yet it takes years and years in this legal system that is not serving the interest of victims.”
The only appropriate sentence for the massacre of 17 innocent people is the death penalty. That the jury had a single holdout refuse to authorize a capital sentence represents a miscarriage of justice.
My prayers are with the Parkland families. pic.twitter.com/f2M0Fw1SLo
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 13, 2022
The mass killer, Nikolas Cruz, 24, pleaded guilty a year ago to murdering 14 students and three staff members, and wounding 17 others, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.
After sentencing on Thursday, the jury’s foreman said more than one juror voted for life in prison, according to the Associated Press.
“We went through all the evidence and some of the jurors just felt that was the appropriate sentence,” Benjamin Thomas told local TV station WPLG. “I didn’t vote that way, so I’m not happy with how it worked out, but everyone has the right to decide for themselves.”
Most jurors wanted the Parkland gunman to be executed, the jury foreman said, but one juror was “a hard no” because she believed that the gunman was mentally ill, and two more jurors ultimately voted with her.https://t.co/OPZsEPca5k pic.twitter.com/Un7EjcbE4G
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 13, 2022
Friends and family of the victims were left sickened that justice delayed was not justice served.
“This is insane. Everyone knows right?” Chen Wang, 14-year-old shooting victim Peter Wang’s cousin, yelled during a news conference after the decision was read. “We need justice.”
“The monster that killed them gets to live another day,” Tony Montalto, whose 14-year-old daughter Gina was murdered by the shooter, told the New York Times. “Society has to really look and re-examine who and what is a victim.”
— Fresha (@MPA_ByFresha) October 13, 2022