FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – There were more motions in court ahead of the sentencing trial for Nikolas Cruz. The issue involves picture and video evidence and how much of it will be allowed during the proceedings.
The question in the confessed shooter’s sentencing Thursday is what photos and videos of the scene and the victims should the jury be allowed to see?
“These victims were shot with an AR-15 by this defendant. They have multiple wounds,” said prosecutor Carolyn McCann.
Pictures alone number into the thousands, with hundreds in the case of at least one victim.
The defense said the graphic images could affect the verdict, whether the confessed killer of 17 students and teachers receives life in prison or the death penalty. Cruz’s lawyers said medical examiners can describe the injuries without photos.
“The cause of the death is that Nikolas Cruz murdered them. It’s a homicide, so the cause of death, when he pled, is not in dispute,” said defense attorney Melisa McNeill.
Prosecutors said there’s no way the judge can make that decision now without any context. They said they have shaved the number of photos down to 450.
The judge seemed to agree. The photos and video will need some explanation.
“We’ve even cropped photographs, so private parts are not in the photographs. You know, we tried to be as careful and discreet as possible,” said prosecutor Michael Satz.
“When I’m watching a video and I see a group running in one direction even though it says east or west, and then you see them running in the other direction and then you see them running in another direction, and then you see what it appears to be Mr. Cruz walking down but without hearing from a witness to say we were to explain that sequence of events,” said Judge Elizabeth Scherer.
“And to make a ruling in a vacuum, could lead this court in error,” said McCann.
What the judge does not want is for the entire process to then get overturned on appeal and have this whole process be moved.
She said that the defense will go ahead and write down all of their objections to any potential pictures or photos, and then they will deal with it as it comes up.
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