Parkland shooter’s lawyers face tough task in jury selection

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — (AP) — Attorneys for Parkland, Florida, school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, will have one goal when jury selection starts Monday: to identify candidates who might give Cruz the single vote he needs to get a life sentence instead of death for the 2018 murders of 17 students and staff members. The process will involve a lot of educated guesses.

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Court officials said perhaps 1,500 or more potential jurors could file through Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer’s courtroom over several weeks as she, prosecutors and Cruz’s public defenders select 12 panelists, plus eight alternates, for his penalty trial.


Those chosen must say they can put aside their animosity toward Cruz for the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and judge the case fairly.

WATCH: What went wrong? Commission highlights safety issues, delayed response during Parkland shooting

The potential jurors must also be available through September.

Cruz’s attorneys “should not even try to get a jury or juror who doesn’t know about the case because that is ignorance; you would have to be living under a rock,” said Orlando defense attorney Mark O’Mara.

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O’Mara came to national prominence after his successful 2013 defense of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murdering Black teenager Trayvon Martin. He is not involved in the Cruz case.

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