Two public defenders representing Parkland school gunman Nikolas Cruz wiped tears from their eyes as victims’ grieving parents read their impact statements in court on Tuesday.
The two attorneys assigned to Cruz, Tamara Curtis and Nawal Najet Bashima, removed their face masks to dab away their tears with tissues as the parents of Luke Hoyer told the court they will never be the same after losing their 15-year-old, reported.
The slain teen’s father, Thomas Hoyer, told the courtroom his family was broken.
‘The numbness I felt after his death has worn off and I’m resigned to this reality. I don’t know that I will ever find real peace,’ he said. ‘Never again will the world feel right now that we’re a family of four.’
Luke Hoyer was one of 17 people Ki**ed by Cruz at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018.
Bashima also teared up as Fred Guttenberg, the father of 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg, spoke of how losing his daughter has completely wrecked his family.
Fred Guttenberg, who became a gun reform activist in the wake of his daughter’s death, noted how his need to change gun laws has affected his family.
‘What happened to my family now shapes every second of my life. I cannot hold a normal job… My strength, my purpose in life, now comes from reacting to what happened to my daughter and my family.’
Cruz’s attorney had requested last year that the victim statements only be read to the court, arguing they could ‘infect the proceedings with unfairness so as to deny Mr Cruz due process.’
The defense had also requested to limit the number of victim impact statements, keeping them brief and limiting to one statement per victims.
Prosecutor Carolyn McCann said at the time that ‘victim impact evidence is supposed to be presented to the jury for their consideration. The fact that it might be overwhelming to the jury because of the sheer number of murders committed is not a reason not to present it to the jury.’
The judge sided with the prosecutor, and allowed numerous relatives from each victim to provide impact statements to the courtroom.
The trial began last month with several survivors taking the stand to recount the horrific day they lost 17 students and school staff members.
Cruz, now 23, pleaded guilty to killing 14 students and three staff last year. He could potentially face the death penalty.
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