Nikolas Cruz, 24, who heartlessly shot and killed 17 people in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., has been sentenced to life in prison without parole, according to CNN. Judge Elizabeth Scherer sentenced Nikolas on Tuesday, Nov. 2 after jurors spared him the death penalty last month. In Oct. 2021, Nikolas pleaded guilty to slaughtering 14 students and three teachers with an AR-15 rifle on Valentine’s Day just over four years ago.
In total, Nikolas was given a life sentence for each of his 34 counts of murder and attempted murder. The sentencing came after a two-day run of heart-wrenching and emotional impact statements from victims and family members of the horrific shooting. Before her sentencing, Judge Scherer thanked those who spoke for their commitment, patience, and perseverance. “The way that you have grieved so gracefully and have shown extraordinary restraint throughout this process is something that I’ve never seen,” she said.
Annika Dworet, the mother of Nicholas and Alex Dworet, the former of which was murdered in the horrific shooting, held back tears as she explained how “unbearable” it was to be in the same room as “monster” Nikolas, as seen in the below clip of her statement. She also slammed the defense team for “holding, touching, and giggling” with Nikolas and called it “one of the most disgusting and unprofessional actions” as well as ” offensive” to her late son.
"One of the most disgusting and unprofessional actions": The mother of Parkland shooting victim #NicholasDworet called out the gunman's defense team for holding, giggling and touching with the murderer. "We found this to be so offensive to our family," she said. pic.twitter.com/IzIXKbLKGG
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) November 2, 2022
“I have never uttered your name, and I never will,” Linda Beigel Schulman, the mother of murdered teacher Scott Beigel, told Nikolas, who he referred to as the “confessed, convicted Parkland mass murderer”, per CNN. Addressing Nikolas, she warned that his “notoriety is over today.”
Furthermore, a tearful Meghan Petty, the sister of Alaina Petty, who was also killed during the attack, said the “entire ordeal has pushed” her to her “emotional, physical and mental limits,” per the New York Post. She added, “It will continue to do so for the rest of my life. Even more so now that he has escaped being punished to the fullest extent of the law as I believe he should have been, knowing that he gets to live out the rest of his natural life. Something Alaina doesn’t get to do.”
Nikolas will be transferred to Florida’s Department of Corrections, according to CNN, where he will then be taken to a reception center for physical and mental assessments. He showed no emotion as his sentencing was read.