Victim's Grandparents Tell Cruz to Go to Hell

Two-day sentencing hearing started Tuesday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 1, 2022 1:21 PM CDT
Victim's Grandma to Nikolas Cruz: 'Burn in Hell'
Patricia Padauy Oliver speaks during her victim impact statement. Padauy Oliver's son, Joaquin Oliver, was killed in the 2018 shootings. Cruz was sentenced to life in prison for murdering 17 people at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School more than four years ago.   (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz's two-day sentencing hearing began Tuesday with the families of the 17 people he murdered, as well as some of the victims who survived, getting their first chance to speak to him directly. They used emotional and often angry terms to describe the devastation he brought to their lives in carrying out the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Among their comments, per the AP, CNN, and ABC News:

  • Debra Hixon, the wife of athletic director Chris Hixon, a Navy veteran who died trying to stop Cruz, spoke first. Chris Hixon was wounded and fell to the floor, where Cruz shot him again. He spent more than 10 minutes trying to get back on his feet before he died. "You were given a gift, a gift of grace and mercy—something you did not show to any of your victims. I wish nothing for you today. After today, I don’t care what happens to you. You’ll be sent to jail, you’ll begin your punishment, you’ll be a number, and for me you will cease to exist.”
  • Eric Wikander, the father of student Ben Wikander, who has undergone seven surgeries, said, "We hope that you, the monster who did this to our son, endure a painful existence in your remaining days. Whatever pain you experience in prison unfortunately will be a fraction of what Ben endured."
  • Stacey Lippel, a wounded teacher, told Cruz, "I have no forgiveness in my heart for you. You are a monster with no remorse, and every breath you take is a breath wasted."
  • Max Schachter, who lost his 14-year-old son Alex, said, "you can’t fix evil. He hunted down innocent children and staff, terrified then tortured them, blew their heads apart like a water balloon and enjoyed it." Schachter noted today is his birthday, and said he would make the same birthday wish each year: for Cruz to "suffer a painful, painful violent death."
  • Terri Rabinovitz, grandmother of 14-year-old victim Alyssa Alhadeff, said, "I’m too old to see you live out your life sentence, but I hope your every breathing moment here on earth is miserable and you repent for your sins, Nikolas, and burn in hell."
  • David Robinovitz, Alyssa's grandfather, shared a similar sentiment, saying one day Cruz would die, and "at that time, Parkland murderer, it is my hope that you go somewhere to meet your maker. And, Parkland murderer, I hope your maker sends you directly to hell to burn for the rest of your eternity."
  • Patricia Oliver, who lost her 17-year-old son Joaquin, said, "You had in your head enjoyment. Listen to me, defendant, enjoyment while killing my son, Joaquin Oliver, and coming back to him to blow his brain out. Your living hell is about to get started.”

After the families of the dead and the 17 people Cruz wounded finish speaking, Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer will formally sentence him Wednesday to life in prison without parole. She has no other option, as the jury in his recently concluded penalty trial could not unanimously agree that the 24-year-old former Stoneman Douglas student deserved a death sentence. One family member who chose not to speak directly to Cruz is Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was shot in the back as she tried to flee. He explains why in this lengthy Twitter thread. (Read more Nikolas Cruz stories.)

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