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Prosecutors seek to present 450 pictures, videos during Parkland shooter's sentencing trial

Defense team wants to limit evidence in case
Nikolas Cruz in court July 7, 2022
Posted at 4:12 PM, Jul 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-07 17:23:31-04

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.  — Pre-trial motions for the Parkland shooter's upcoming sentencing trial continued in court Thursday.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer and attorneys are working to determine what evidence will be shown to the jury during the trial.

At this point, the state plans to present about 450 pictures and videos of the 34 victims.

RELATED: Defense team seeks to exclude swastikas, racial slurs, child pornography comments

However, Nikolas Cruz's defense team wants to limit the number of photographs, calling them gruesome, non-relevant and overly prejudicial.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer in court July 7, 2022
Judge Elizabeth Scherer is shown during a hearing in the penalty phase of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, July 7, 2022.

Legal analysts said this portion of the penalty phase is important.

Regardless of the verdict, the outcome will weigh heavy on the community well after the trial wraps up.

"There are going to be no true winners in this case if Mr. Cruz should get life," Mark Dobson, a professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Law, said. "I'm sure that his counsel is going to feel in some ways like winners. I mean this is an adversarial proceeding, but in reality, there are no true winners in this case. We can only hope that we have a fair process."

Defense attorneys David Wheeler, Melisa McNeill, Nawal Bashimam, and Casey Secor, July 7, 2022
Defense attorneys, from left; David Wheeler, Melisa McNeill, Nawal Bashimam, and Casey Secor confer during a hearing in the penalty phase of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, July 7, 2022.

It's unclear when the judge will make a ruling on the matter.

The court will not be back in session until Tuesday.

Opening statements will start on July 18.

Seventeen people were killed and 17 others were injured during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 2018.

Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty in October to the Parkland school massacre.

A 12-panel jury will determine if Cruz should be sentenced to death or get life in prison without parole.