FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. ( Associated Press) – Prosecutors are calling for an investigation into the Florida school massacre of Nicolas Cruz after one juror said he felt threatened by another juror during deliberations that ended Thursday. with a life sentence against Cruz for the murder of 17 people.
Prosecutors’ motion calls for law enforcement to interview the woman after she told the state attorney’s office that she “felt a threat from another juror in the jury room.” No further details given. The hearing took place on Friday afternoon.
A divided jury saved Cruz from the death penalty and sentenced him to prison for the rest of his life, which left many of the victims’ relatives angry, confused and in tears. Cruz, 24, pleaded guilty a year earlier to the murders of 14 students and three teachers and injuring 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2014.
Under Florida law, the death penalty requires a unanimous vote. A jury of seven men and five women unanimously agreed that there were serious factors to warrant the execution of the death penalty, such as agreeing that the killings were “particularly inhumane, heinous or brutal”.
But one or more jurors found factors that underlie childhood problems, such as neglected childhood. In the end, the jury could not unanimously agree that aggravating factors outweigh diminishing factors, so Cruz receives life in prison without parole. Judge Elizabeth Shire will formally pronounce the sentence on November 1. Family members along with injured students and teachers will get a chance to speak.
Jury foreman Benjamin Thomas told reporters that in the final vote three jurors voted for life in prison.