Judge: Florida school shooting victims' families can testify

Nikolas Cruz
Posted at 2:41 PM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 14:57:48-05

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A judge has rejected an attempt by Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s attorneys to bar the parents of his 17 victims from testifying about the trauma the murders caused.

Cruz’s public defenders asked Judge Elizabeth Scherer on Monday to have the victim impact statements read aloud by a neutral third party or played on video. They said in-person readings would unfairly inflame jurors.

But Scherer agreed with prosecutors, who said the victims have a right to be heard. The defense will have an opportunity to object to the prepared statement beforehand if they believe anything is inflammatory.

The penalty hearing is set to begin early next year.