Parkland mass shooting jurors shown graphic victims’ photos

Prosecutors on Friday showed jurors photos of the horrific damage the bullets fired by Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s AR-15 rifle did to some of his 17 victims, causing extensive wounds to their heads, bodies and limbs.

The jury also saw gruesome crime scene photos showing victims who died in their classrooms at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, some falling on top of each other. It was an unusually graphic display in a U.S. courtroom as most of the nation’s mass shootings never reach trial because the killer dies during or immediately after the attack.

The seven-man, five-woman jury and 10 alternates showed little emotion as the photos from the Parkland school were displayed on video monitors inside the jury box. They were not shown in the gallery, where several parents sat, but were shown to reporters after the hearing.

Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of first-degree murder, so the jury will only decide if he will be sentenced to death or life without parole.

Prosecutors are showing the photos because they believe their graphic and horrific detail demonstrates the heinous, depraved and cruel nature of Cruz’s actions. The defense unsuccessfully objected to their showing, arguing that they are only meant to inflame jurors’ emotions.

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