'Crime May Have Been Committed' in Cruz Jury Room

Prosecutors request investigation after juror describes possible threat
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2022 12:29 PM CDT
Crime May Have Occurred in Parkland Jury Debate
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz is shown at the defense table with Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday.   (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Hours after a jury recommended life in prison for the school shooter in the 2018 massacre in Parkland, Fla., prosecutors requested an investigation into the deliberations and asserted that "a crime may have been committed." One juror has claimed she felt threatened by another juror during discussions, according to a court filing, in which prosecutors request that Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer order law enforcement to interview the woman dubbed "Juror X," per CNN. The juror called the Broward State Attorney's Office asking to speak with lead prosecutor Mike Satz after the verdict was read, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

According to the motion filed late Thursday, "Juror X spoke to a support staff member and informed the support staff member that during deliberations she received what she perceived to be a threat from a fellow juror while in the jury room." In a Thursday interview, the jury foreman said all but three members of the 12-person jury wanted Nikolas Cruz to be executed. But "there was one with a hard 'no'—she couldn’t do it," believing Cruz to be mentally ill, the foreman said, per CNN. "And there was another two that ended up voting the same way."

Also Thursday, a juror who voted for life in prison wrote to the judge to dispel rumors that she always intended to oppose the death penalty, per ABC News. "This allegation is untrue and I maintained my oath to the court that I would be fair and unbiased," but "some jurors became extremely unhappy once I mentioned that I would vote for life," the woman wrote. Thursday's motion refers to a letter sent to the judge by a juror, who claimed she faced "aggressive behavior by two of my fellow jurors," per CBS News. The Sun Sentinel notes "allegations of juror misconduct raised after trial cannot change the outcome when it's in the defendant's favor." (More Nikolas Cruz stories.)

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