Dried blood and roses: Jury gets rare examine Parkland scene - The linked Press

fortress LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Roses dropped at honor love on that Valentine's Day in 2018 lay withered, their dried and cracked petals scattered throughout school room floors nonetheless smeared with the blood of victims gunned down by a former student more than four years in the past.

Bullet holes pocked partitions, and shards of glass from home windows shattered by means of gunfire crunched underfoot at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas high faculty, the place shooter Nikolas Cruz killed 14 students and three personnel members. Nothing had been changed, other than the removing of the victims' bodies and some own gadgets.

Twelve jurors and 10 alternates who will make a decision whether Cruz gets the demise penalty or existence in prison made a rare talk over with to the massacre scene Thursday, retracing Cruz's steps in the course of the three-story freshman constructing, referred to as "constructing 12." After they left, a gaggle of journalists changed into allowed in for a a good deal faster first public view.

The sight changed into deeply unsettling: significant pools of dried blood still stained lecture room floors. A lock of darkish hair rested on the ground the place one of the victims' bodies once lay. A single black rubber shoe was in a hallway. Browned rose petals had been strewn across a hallway where six people died.

In lecture room after school room, open notebooks displayed uncompleted instructions. A blood-covered booklet known as, "tell Them We be aware" sat atop a bullet-riddled desk within the school room where teacher Ivy Schamis taught students concerning the Holocaust. a sign attached to a bulletin board read: "we can under no circumstances forget." Two students died there.

in the school room of English teacher Dara Hass, where probably the most college students have been gunned down, there have been essays about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by using the Taliban for going to school, and who has considering that become a world recommend for academic access for women and women.

"A bullet went straight to her head however no longer her brain," one scholar wrote. "We go to faculty day by day of the week and we take it all for granted," wrote yet another. "We cry and bitch with out understanding how fortunate we're to be able to be trained."

The door of Room 1255, trainer Stacey Lippel's school room, became pushed open — like others to signify that Cruz shot into it. placing on a wall internal changed into an indication reading, "No Bully Zone." The inventive writing task for the day became on the whiteboard: "a way to write the excellent love letter."

And nonetheless putting on the wall of a 2nd-ground hallway become a quote from James Dean: "Dream as if you'll are living always, live as in case you'll die these days."

In slain trainer Scott Beigel's geography school room, a desktop became still open on his desk. pupil assignments comparing the tenets of Christianity and Islam remained, some graded, some not. On his whiteboard, Beigel, the school's move-country educate, had been writing the gold, silver and bronze medalists in each and every adventure at the winter Olympics, which had begun 5 days past.

Prosecutors, who rested their case following the jury's tour, hope the talk over with will support show that Cruz's moves have been cold, calculated, heinous and cruel; created a fine possibility of demise to many people and "interfered with a govt characteristic" — all hectic elements beneath Florida's capital punishment legislation.

beneath Florida court docket guidelines, neither the judge nor the attorneys have been allowed to talk to the jurors — and the jurors weren't allowed to speak with each other — after they retraced the direction Cruz took on Feb. 14, 2018, as he moved from ground to flooring, firing down hallways and into lecture rooms. prior to the tour, the jurors had already considered surveillance video of the shooting and pictures of its aftermath.

The building has been sealed and changed into surrounded by a 15-foot (four.6-meter) chain-hyperlink fence wrapped in a privacy mesh reveal mounted with zip ties. It looms ominously over the faculty and its academics, body of workers and three,300 college students, and may be considered simply by using anybody local. The Broward County college district plans to demolish it on every occasion prosecutors approve. For now, it's a courtroom display.

"if you happen to are driving past, it's there. when you are going to classification, it's there. It is only a large structure that you can't leave out," talked about Kai Koerber, who turned into a Stoneman Douglas junior at the time of the taking pictures. he's now on the university of California, Berkeley, and the developer of a intellectual health cellphone app. "It is only a relentless reminder ... it really is enormously trying and horrible."

Cruz, 23, pleaded responsible in October to 17 counts of first-diploma homicide; the trial is barely to determine if he is sentenced to demise or existence devoid of parole.

Miami defense legal professional David S. Weinstein stated prosecutors hope the visit might be "the remaining piece in erasing any doubt that any juror might have had that the loss of life penalty is the only advice that can also be made."

Such crime web site visits are infrequent. Weinstein, a former prosecutor, pointed out in more than 150 jury trials relationship returned to the late 1980s, he has only had one.

In most trials, a criminal offense scene consult with wouldn't even be considered as a result of years later it's now not the identical vicinity as when the crime befell and might provide a false feel of what happened. however during this case, the constructing became sealed off so it can be carried out.

Cruz's attorneys have argued that prosecutors have used what they assert is provocative proof, together with Thursday's discuss with, not just to show their case, but to inflame jurors' passions.

After jurors returned to the courtroom Thursday, the moms of two victims testified that the bloodbath permanently forged a pall over no longer handiest every Valentine's Day but different crucial family celebrations.

Helena Ramsay, 17, died on her father's birthday. "That day will under no circumstances be a party and might under no circumstances be the identical for him," her mom, Anne Ramsay, pointed out.

Hui Wang, whose 15-year-historical son Peter was killed, noted the taking pictures happened the day before chinese New year. A deliberate party changed into canceled that year and each 12 months because then.

"this present day of unity grew to be a day that hurts the most," she referred to.

The wife of athletic director, Chris Hixon, and their 26-year-historical son, who has particular wants, also spoke on the fourth and last day jurors heard from victims' families. Hixon, a 49-yr-historic Navy veteran, died charging into the building making an attempt to stop Cruz and offer protection to the college students.

Corey Hixon described a weekly ritual of getting donuts together with his dad.

"I omit him," he pointed out, effortlessly.

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