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What's next for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz after life sentence?

Killer of 17 will be formally sentenced, assigned to state prison
Nikolas Cruz tugs at shirt collar while awaiting decision in penalty phase of his murder trial, Oct. 13, 2022
Posted at 5:17 PM, Oct 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-13 17:29:06-04

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — What's next for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz now that he has learned his fate?

A jury was unable to unanimously agree that Cruz should be executed for killing 14 students and three faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day in 2018.

That means Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer must sentence him to life in prison. She cannot overrule the decision.

RELATED: Here's what to know about Florida's death penalty

Scherer scheduled a sentencing hearing for Nov. 1, at which time she will formally impose the 17 life sentences.

Relatives and surviving victims will be given the opportunity to speak at the hearing.


After he is sentenced, Cruz will be turned over to the Florida Department of Corrections, which will initially house him at one of four male or two female reception centers throughout the state.

Once he is processed, tested and evaluated by health services, Cruz will be assessed based on his security risk.

Custody will be determined by reviewing the seriousness of the crime committed, length of sentence, prior criminal record, escape history and other factors, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

"The most serious offenders with the longest sentences and those least likely to adjust to institutional life are placed in more secure facilities," the Florida Department of Corrections states on its website.

For Cruz, he'll likely be sent to one of the state's 60 correctional facilities for inmates who must be maintained within an armed perimeter or under direct, armed supervision when outside of a secure perimeter.

While his future destination remains uncertain, what is certain is that Cruz will not be eligible for parole when he gets there.

That's little consolation for family members of the victims. In a state that has executed 99 prisoners since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, Cruz won't be one of them.