Sheriff’s guard involved in jail scuffle with Parkland gunman Nikolas Cruz testifies at penalty trial

FORT LAUDERDALE – Multiple witnesses have been known as by the state once more for day eight of the sentencing trial for the Parkland faculty shooter Nikolas Cruz.

The first witness to take the stand was Sgt. Raymond Beltran of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. He was working in the principle jail the place Cruz was being held once they acquired into an altercation on November 13, 2018.

It was captured on surveillance video and exhibits Beltran and Cruz in a scuffle, rolling round on the bottom. Beltran stated Cruz was dragging his toes on the bottom as a result of his slides have been damaged. He stated he instructed Cruz to get a brand new pair. That’s when Cruz reportedly gave him the center finger and charged at him.

Video body seize of Broward Sherif’s Office Sgt. Raymond Beltran and Nikolas Cruz throughout a jail home battle in 2018.

(Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel through AP, Pool)

Beltran testified that Cruz acquired ahold of his Taser.

“At this point, I have to get the Taser back. He could tase me he could incapacitate me,” he instructed the jury.

The Taser discharged, however the electrically charged probes missed each of them. Beltran regained management of the Taser and used it to punch Cruz, staggering him. Cruz then acquired on the bottom, was handcuffed and put again into his cell. Beltran suffered no severe accidents.

Cruz later pleaded responsible to the assault. Prosecutors are utilizing that conviction as an aggravating circumstance as they argue Cruz must be sentenced to dying.

The subsequent witness to be known as to the stand was Broward Sheriff’s Detective Kevin Forsberg who discovered Cruz’s mobile phone in the east stairwell of the primary ground of the 1200 constructing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“I was about the midway point of the hallway. I started calling that phone to see if I could hear it anywhere in the hallway. I heard it faintly. Sounded like it was coming from the east location of the hallway. I continued calling it multiple times until I got to the east end of the hallway and then I could hear that it was coming from inside the stairwell location on the first floor,” he stated.

We can seemingly count on to listen to in regards to the contents discovered on Cruz’s cellphone together with the mobile phone video he recorded simply days earlier than the bloodbath saying he can be the subsequent faculty shooter.

“It’s alarming to recognize how many opportunities that were missed,” says licensed well being counselor Amie Thomas.

Cruz, 23, pleaded responsible to 17 counts of first-degree homicide in October, that means the jury will determine solely whether or not he’s sentenced to dying or life with out parole. The taking pictures left 14 college students, a instructor, the athletic director and an assistant soccer coach lifeless.

With the trial now in its second week, the seven-man, five-woman jury and its 10 alternates have seen terrifying video of the assault, and heard from traumatized survivors and law enforcement officials who rushed into the nightmarish scene inside a three-story classroom constructing. They have examined ugly post-mortem and crime scene pictures.

They additionally noticed video depicting Cruz’s nonchalance as he walked to a sandwich store to purchase a drink after which visited a McDonald’s simply minutes after he fled the college. On Monday, they noticed the AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle Cruz fired greater than 150 instances.

This is the deadliest mass taking pictures in U.S. historical past to succeed in trial. Nine U.S. gunmen moreover Cruz who killed at least 17 individuals died throughout or instantly after their shootings, both by suicide or police gunfire. The suspect in a tenth, the 2019 slaying of 23 individuals at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, is awaiting trial.

Prosecutors stated Wednesday they plan to finish their case subsequent week after the jury visits the constructing the place the bloodbath occurred. It has been sealed off since shortly after the taking pictures and its partitions and flooring stay blood-stained and bullet-pocked, with rotted Valentine’s Day flowers and deflated balloons strewn about.

After a one-week break, the trial will resume in mid-August with a protection case that can give attention to Cruz’s life, together with his delivery mom’s consuming throughout being pregnant, his lengthy historical past of emotional and psychological issues, his alleged sexual abuse and the deaths of his adopted mother and father. The prosecution will then get to current a rebuttal case.

“Yes, there are factors that may enable and lead to this type of behavior, but that’s not an excuse,” says Thomas. 

When jurors finally get the case, in all probability in October or November, they may vote 17 instances, as soon as for every of the victims, on whether or not to suggest capital punishment.

For every dying sentence, the jury have to be unanimous or the sentence for that sufferer is life. The jurors are instructed that to vote for dying, the prosecution’s aggravating circumstances for that sufferer should, in their judgment, “outweigh” the protection’s mitigators. A juror also can vote for all times out of mercy for Cruz. During jury choice, the panelists stated underneath oath that they’re able to voting for both sentence.

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