Roses delivered to honor love on that Valentine’s Day in 2018 lay withered, their dried and cracked petals scattered throughout classroom flooring nonetheless smeared with the blood of victims gunned down by a former pupil greater than 4 years in the past.
Bullet holes pocked partitions, and shards of glass from home windows shattered by gunfire crunched underfoot at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas excessive school, the place shooter Nikolas Cruz killed 14 college students and three workers members.
Nothing had been modified, aside from the removing of the victims’ our bodies and a few private gadgets.
Twelve jurors and 10 alternates who will resolve whether or not Cruz will get the loss of life penalty or life in jail made a uncommon go to to the bloodbath scene on Thursday, retracing Cruz’s steps by the three-story freshman constructing, often known as Building 12.
After they left, a bunch of journalists was allowed in for a a lot faster first public view. The sight was deeply unsettling.
Large swimming pools of dried blood nonetheless stained classroom flooring. A lock of darkish hair rested on the ground the place one of many victims’ our bodies as soon as lay. A single black rubber shoe was in a hallway. Browned rose petals had been strewn throughout a hallway the place six folks died, and Valentines Day items, resembling toy bears, and playing cards lay the place that they had tumbled within the havoc.
In classroom after classroom, open notebooks displayed uncompleted classes. A blood-coated guide referred to as Tell Them We Remember sat atop a bullet-riddled desk within the classroom the place a trainer, Ivy Schamis, taught college students in regards to the Holocaust.
An indication hooked up to a bulletin board learn: “We will never forget.” Two college students died there.
In the classroom of the English trainer Dara Hass, the place essentially the most college students had been gunned down, there have been essays about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban for going to school, and who has since develop into a worldwide advocate for training entry for girls and women.
The door of Room 1255, trainer Stacey Lippel’s classroom, was pushed open – like others to indicate that Cruz shot into it. Hanging on a wall inside was an indication studying: “No Bully Zone”. The inventive writing task for the day was on the whiteboard: “How to write the perfect love letter.”
And nonetheless hanging on the wall of a second-floor hallway was a quote from James Dean: “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”
In slain trainer Scott Beigel’s geography classroom, a laptop computer was nonetheless open on his desk. Student assignments evaluating the tenets of Christianity and Islam remained, some graded, some not.
Prosecutors, who rested their case after the jury’s tour, hope the go to will assist show that Cruz’s actions had been chilly, calculated, heinous and merciless; created a fantastic danger of loss of life to many individuals and “interfered with a government function” – all aggravating components beneath Florida’s capital punishment legislation.
Under Florida courtroom guidelines, neither the decide nor the attorneys had been allowed to talk to the jurors – and the jurors weren’t allowed to converse with one another – once they retraced the trail Cruz took on 14 February 2018, as he moved from ground to ground, firing down hallways and into classrooms.
Before the tour, the jurors had already seen surveillance video of the shooting and images of its aftermath.
The constructing has been sealed and the Broward county school district plans to demolish it each time prosecutors approve. For now, it’s a courtroom exhibit.
Cruz, now 23, pleaded responsible in October to 17 counts of first-degree homicide.
After jurors returned to the courtroom on Thursday from the uncommon crime scene go to, the moms of two victims testified that the bloodbath completely solid a pall over not solely each Valentine’s Day however different essential household celebrations.
Helena Ramsay, 17, died on her father’s birthday. “That day will never be a celebration and can never be the same for him,” her mom, Anne Ramsay, stated.
Hui Wang, whose 15-year-old son Peter was killed, stated the shooting occurred the day earlier than lunar new yr. A deliberate celebration was canceled that yr and yearly since then. “This day of unity became a day that hurts the most,” she stated.
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