- The families of those killed in the Parkland high school massacre blasted a jury for rejecting the death penalty for the gunman.
- “You set a precedent for the next mass murder,” one grieving dad told the 12 jurors.
- A jury recommended that the gunman be sentenced to life in prison for the 2018 shooting.
Outraged families of those killed in the 2018 Parkland high school massacre criticized a jury Thursday for rejecting the death penalty for the shooter, who they repeatedly called a “monster” and an “animal.”
Lori Alhadeff and her husband, Ilan Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa, was among the 17 killed in the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, told reporters after the verdict was read that they were “ disgusted” by the jury’s recommendation of life in prison without parole for the gunman.
“I’m disgusted with our legal system. I’m disgusted with these juries. I’m disgusted with this system that you can allow 17 dead and 17 others to be shot and injured and not get the death penalty,” said Ilan Alhadeff .
“You set a precedent for the next mass murder,” the grieving dad said of the 12 jurors, saying their recommendation was “a stain on this world.”
“I pray that this animal suffers every day of his life in prison and has a short life,” she said of the gunman.
Lori Alkhadev echoed her husband’s comments, saying the couple were “beyond disappointed with the outcome today.”
“This should have been the death penalty 100%,” he said. “I don’t get this. I just don’t get it.”
Michael Schulman, whose 35-year-old geography teacher son Scott Beigel was killed in the shooting, also criticized the verdict.
“This animal deserves to die, he went after all these people,” Shulman told reporters of the 24-year-old gunman who pleaded guilty last year to killing 14 students and three staff members. “Plan these months.”
Beigel’s mother, Linda Schulman, called the gunman’s case “the most perfect death penalty case,” as she questioned how the court could reject the death penalty.
“There’s no question that the verdict should have been the death penalty,” said Linda Shulman, adding that prosecutors “couldn’t have made their case any better than they did.”
Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jamie, was also killed in the massacre, told reporters he was “surprised” and “devastated” that the 17 victims of the mass shooting “did not get justice today.”
“I think anybody planning a shooting right now sees that there is a path to avoid the death penalty where it exists,” Guttenberg said.
The father said he “couldn’t be more disappointed with what happened today.”
Tony Montalto, whose 14-year-old daughter Gina was killed in the shooting, called the jury’s verdict “a punch to so many of us.”
“The monster that killed them will live another day,” Montalto said.
The jury in the case announced its decision Thursday morning after a three-month trial that received heartbreaking testimony from survivors and family members of the victims.
As each verdict was read by the judge, family members in the courtroom could be seen shaking their heads in disgust that the jury did not recommend the death penalty.
All jurors would have to agree to recommend the death penalty for the gunman.