FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – Loved ones and victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are bracing themselves for more difficult testimony, as the penalty trial of the confessed shooter is set to enter its second week.
Last week, cameras showed anguished parents as they listened to audio of the Feb. 14, 2018 massacre: a piercing fire alarm, followed by the loud bangs of gunfire. Others ran from the Broward County courtroom when they heard the sounds.
The sentencing trial of Nikolas Cruz began with cellphone audio recorded by a student. The first week’s testimony would not get any easier.
Lead prosecutor Michael Satz told the jury the shooter, then 19, spoke about the killings just days prior.
“My name is Nik,” the gunman said in a video.
In the video clip, according to Satz, the shooter said, “‘I’m going to be the next school shooter of 2018.’”
Throughout the week, students and teachers who survived the six-minute rampage told their stories, from the moment the shooter entered a stairwell in Building 12.
“It was hazy, and you could smell the sulfur from the guns, and debris was flying across the room, and the students were crying,” said MSD teacher Dara Hass. “We just tried our best.”
“You feel vibrations in your chest as the gunshots were getting closer and louder,” said MSD teacher Ronit Reoven.
“I was shot four times, in my right arm, my right lung, some of my ribs on my right side, and I had surgery on my abdomen,” said survivor Maddy Wilford.
At one point, the courtoom fell silent, as jurors using individual monitors watched the surveillance video from inside the school.
Jurors would later see the confessed killer casually walking into a nearby Subway and a McDonald’s after making his escape.
Responding law enforcement officers took jurors classroom by classroom and recounted what the found. An associate medical examiner described the wounds suffered by the 14 students and three adults who would not come home that day.
Prosecutors hope the testimony will convince the jury of seven men and five women to sentence the 23-year-old to death. His defense will later try to convince them that he instead deserves life in prison.
The trial resumes Monday morning.
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