FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Opening statements in the sentencing trial for convicted Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz are now scheduled to begin July 6.
Judge Elizabeth Scherer set the date Wednesday as jury selection drew closer to a close.
PARKLAND SENTENCING TRIAL:The sentencing trial for the convicted Parkland school gunman has been pushed back once again even as jury selection appears to be in its final stretch— Linnie Supall WPTV (@LinnieSupall) June 22, 2022
The new trial date is set for Wednesday, July 6 - opening statements were supposed to begin 6/27 #wptv pic.twitter.com/vfAzdCAg08
For nearly three months, attorneys have been questioning potential jurors as to whether they could be impartial in deciding life or death for Cruz, who pleaded guilty last year to killing 17 people in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
But there have been plenty of delays – and another school shooting that shocked the nation – along the way.
A jury of 12 will be asked to decide whether the 23-year-old should spend the rest of his life in prison, without the possibility of parole, or be put to death for his crimes on Feb. 14, 2018.
Three dozen potential jurors entered the final round of questioning Wednesday. Lead prosecutor and former Broward County State Attorney Mike Satz asked personal questions in his quest to uncover any potential bias among those still in the jury pool.
"Have you ever had an unpleasant experience with a police officer that didn't amount to an arrest?" Satz asked one potential juror.
Assistant Public Defender Nawal Bashimam asked equally controversial questions.
"Who here thinks white privilege exists?" she said to the group.
The final stage of questioning also serves as a warning to jurors that the four months of testimony ahead will be emotional to endure.
"There will be photographs shown to you of slain children and educators in their school," Bashimam said.