In their final arguments on Tuesday, the prosecution urged the Florida jury to suggest the Parkland school shooter receive the death penalty because the facts of the case exceed any potential mitigating factors that the defence may have raised to support a life sentence.

Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which 14 students and three school staff members were killed, “What he wanted to do, what his plan was and what he did was to murder children at school and their caretakers. That’s what he wanted to do,” lead prosecutor Michael Satz said.

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In contrast, Cruz’s defence attorney Melisa McNeill stated in her own closing argument that Cruz “is a brain damaged, broken, mentally ill person, through no fault of his own,” referring to the defense’s assertion that Cruz’s mother used drugs and drank alcohol while she was pregnant with him, saying he was “poisoned” in her womb.

“And in a civilised humane society, do we kill brain damaged, mentally ill, broken people?” McNeill questioned. “Do we? Hopefully not.”

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The prolonged sentencing phase of Cruz’s trial is coming to a conclusion with closing statements, marking the final opportunity for the prosecution to persuade the jury to impose the death penalty and the final chance for the defence to argue for a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Cruz’s defence attorneys presented evidence of a lifetime of challenges at home and in school in contrast to the prosecution’s assertion that Cruz’s decision to carry out the bloodiest mass shooting at an American high school was intentional and calculated.

Two and a half hours were given to each side to present their final arguments.

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Jurors will be sequestered during jury deliberations, which are anticipated to start on Wednesday, according to Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer.

Cruz will face life in prison without the possibility of release if the jury decides not to recommend the death penalty. Judge Scherer will have the last say if the jury does suggest Cruz be put to death; Cruz may be given a life sentence instead.