Florida’s governor ‘very disappointed’ in life sentence for Parkland shooter

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 1:20 PM EDT
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Florida’s governor on Thursday said Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz deserves to die, shortly after a Broward County jury recommended life in prison for the man who killed 14 children and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.

"I just don't think anything else is appropriate except a capital sentence in this case," Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference in Cape Coral. "And so I was very disappointed to see that."

DeSantis said Cruz displayed "utter disregard for basic humanity" when he carried out the deadly and tragic mass shooting on Feb. 14, 2018.

According to the governor, the jury's recommendation was 11-1, with a single holdout against the death penalty for Cruz.

"That means that this killer is gonna end up getting the same sentence as people who've committed bad acts, but acts that did not rise to this level," DeSantis said.

The governor also expressed his displeasure with the lengthy, four-year process it took to reach Thursday's recommendation.

"He's guilty. Everybody knew that from the beginning. And yet it takes years and years in this legal system that is not serving the interests of victims," DeSantis said. "So I was very disappointed to see that."

Since the tragedy four years ago, DeSantis and the state have taken action to identify failures and bolster school security.

The governor removed former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and four Broward County School Board members from office, convened a special grand jury to investigate school safety throughout the state, and spent $750 million to improve school security.

"This stings. It was not what we were hoping for," DeSantis said. "If that would've gone the correct way, I would have done everything in my power to expedite that process forward."

Charlie Crist, DeSantis' Democratic opponent for governor in the upcoming November election, released the following statement about Thursday's recommendation:

"There are crimes for which the only just penalty is death. The Parkland families and community deserved that degree of justice.

I will continue to pray for healing for the families and every person impacted by this tragedy."

Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer will formally issue the life sentence for Cruz at a hearing on Nov. 1.

Scripps Only Content 2022