Cruz’s attorneys urged the jury to sentence him to life in prison. The defense admitted that Cruz was responsible for his actions and planned the school shooting, but Cruz suffered lifelong developmental delays diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
“Sentencing Nichols to death is absolutely unchangeable,” defense attorney Melissa McNeil said in closing arguments. “It will not bring back those 17 innocent victims he brutally murdered.”
Prosecutors, arguing for the death penalty, told jurors that Cruz had researched previous mass shootings and planned a “systematic massacre.”
“Some of the words the defendant wrote on his YouTube were: ‘No mercy, no questions, double tap. I’m … going to kill children. … I want to see families hurt,'” prosecutor Michael Chadz said in closing arguments.
“He’s forward-thinking,” Chadz said, “not just inflicting pain on victims,” but also “anticipating how that pain, fear and death … is going to affect families.”