U.S. Sen. Rick Scott was among those disappointed by a jury’s recent decision to not recommend death for the sinister shooter who committed America’s worst high school massacre four years ago.
The Florida Republican, who was governor of the Sunshine State when Nikolas Cruz shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, said he could not understand how Cruz did not receive the “most severe punishment allowed under our laws.”
A jury on Thursday recommended that Cruz serve life in prison without parole for murdering 17 students and faculty at Douglas High School and wounding 17 others in February 2018. Cruz pled guilty last year.
Under a Florida law passed in 2016, Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer cannot override the jury’s decision to impose the death penalty.
In a statement that arrived in an email to constituents on Friday, Sen. Scott said, “There are few days that go by without my thoughts turning to the tragic shooting” at Douglas High School, and the 17 innocent lives taken by a “monster.”
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That massacre, Scott said, “forever changed the Parkland community, the state of Florida and our nation.”
“Now,” he added, “more than four years after that horrific day, I know the pain felt by the families and loved ones of those we lost is still difficult for them to bear. I remain close with these families and know that many of us find it hard to understand how such brutal crimes could be met with anything but the most severe punishment allowed under our laws.”
“While I have faith in our justice system, today’s decision is not what many of us expected,” said Scott.
“I can only pray that as each phase of this painful process concludes, those whose hearts were torn by this monster find some measure of closure, and that our Heavenly Father delivers to them the peace of knowing that they will one day be reunited in His kingdom with those we so tragically lost.”