Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz formally sentenced to life in prison

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz formally received a sentence of life without parole Wednesday after families of his 17 slain victims spent two days berating him as evil, a coward, a monster and a subhuman.

Cruz, shackled and in a red jail jumpsuit, watched intently as Judge Elizabeth Scherer sentenced him to 17 life terms for the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in suburban Fort Lauderdale and an additional 17 for the attempted murders of those he wounded.

Scherer had no other choice; the jury in Cruz’s three-month penalty trial voted 9-3 on Oct. 13 to sentence him to death, but Florida law requires unanimity for that sentence to be imposed.

Cruz acknowledged under questioning by the judge before sentencing that he is on medication but could understand what was occurring.

The sentencing came after two days’ worth of parents, wives, siblings and others of slain victims and some of the surviving wounded walking to a lectern 20 feet to address him face to face.

The judge commended the families and wounded who testified, calling them strong, graceful and patient.

“I know you are going to be OK, because you have each other,” Scherer said.

This is a breaking update. AP’s earlier story follows below: