Parkland – Burgham Park Fri, 12 Aug 2022 23:55:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Parkland – Burgham Park 32 32 More work needed in schools after Parkland Fri, 12 Aug 2022 23:55:00 +0000

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018 prompted lawmakers to pass new laws to make schools safer through physical changes, as well as health requirements mentality of students.

Reports show that the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, suffered from several mental disorders prior to the shooting.

What do you want to know

  • After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, Florida lawmakers passed legislation to make schools safer
  • A recent Orange County high school grad is working to make mental health a priority for students
  • University of Florida freshman Selin Ciltas created a petition calling for more mental health education in schools

Selin Ciltas seeks to increase mental health awareness and resources for students.

She recently graduated from high school in Orange County and says her motivation is to make things better for other students, including one in particular.

“I know my sister – she’s in public school right now – she’s going through the same thing as me, I want the best for her,” Ciltas said.

“I wish I could have had a stronger foundation, and hopefully with improvements it can have the foundation that I wished it had.”

Ciltas is now entering her freshman year at the University of Florida and has already completed her summer school there.

She is still focused on advocating for change in Florida public schools and has created a petition demanding more than the current five hours of mental health instruction time required in schools.

While still in high school, she was also part of a student group that worked with Orange County school administrators to improve student access to mental health resources.

“We really wanted to make sure our peers were really focused on getting the best possible support,” Ciltas said.

Ciltas says she was happy to see the legislation passed after the Parkland shooting and saw some of the changes implemented during her last two years of high school.

One of the new measures requires schools to have mental health coordinators whose job it is to better connect students to community resources so they can more effectively manage mental health issues.

“It was a step in the right direction — the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act definitely implemented a lot of things that students wanted to see,” Ciltas said.

But she says that didn’t go far enough.

“From where I graduated, a lot of students didn’t even know we had access to a social worker,” she said. “We had a social worker who was available in our schools a few times a week, and without understanding that do they have access to these resources, how are they supposed to use them?”

Lauren Parker is a mental health counselor who has advised administrators in a Central Florida school district, as well as school psychologists across the state, including the implementation of Parkland legislation. She says the changes have forced schools to prioritize social-emotional learning – even at primary school level.

“We used to say if you’re worried about a friend or yourself, go to an adult and say something,” she said. “But we never taught them what it was like. And now we have the opportunity to teach them what it is like if your friend has depression.

But Parker said the recently passed Parental Rights in Education Act requires some school psychologists to be very careful.

“We want to make sure we do it right and we want to make sure we do it in a way that supports our young people,” she said. “As school districts figure out how the new legislation changes some of that, there’s a little pause to make sure they don’t have any legal issues in any way.”

Ciltas said state lawmakers need to go further with legislation and school districts need to do more to ensure new laws help students stay safe.

“You can demand as much education as you want, but not implement that education and make sure it’s a resource that students can use, so why is the resource available?” Ciltas said.

New laws require school safety officers to undergo crisis intervention training and that school districts annually report the number of students sent for involuntary mental health evaluations.

They also require school administrators to take every step possible to notify a child’s parent before removing that student from school for an involuntary mental health examination.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is Public Safety Commission Chairman Marjory Stoneman Douglas, which recommends policies and actions for the legislature to consider enacting. He says the work of the commission is far from over.

“So if the child has certain signs, if we can stop that child from being Baker Acted and get them into immediate services, that’s what these mobile response teams are,” he said. declared. “They have to respond within the hour and then they manage that child for seven days to get services.

“So there’s a lot to do, but there’s still a lot to do.”

Three smart cookies gain 20,000 Instagram followers in one year – Parkland Talk Wed, 10 Aug 2022 15:00:37 +0000

Three smart cookies gain 20,000 fans in one year

By Jill Fox

Among thousands of Crumbl cookie fans, three at Parkland have taken it to a new level.

Mallory Biederman, 14, Blake Biederman, 12, and Ethan Klein, 14, have gained a massive following on Instagram, promoting the nation’s fastest growing gourmet cookie company.

When Crumbl Cookies opened in Coral Springs in November 2020, it was the third location in Florida. Two years later, with 33 stores in the sunshine state and a rapidly growing fan base, these Parkland teens are enjoying it.

Best friends Ethan and Mallory, who attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, started a fan page in June 2021.

“It was our idea to launch it because we love Crumbl,” Ethan said.

For those unfamiliar with fashion, the Crumbl menu rotates weekly, offering five of their 200 different specialty flavors and one constant – milk chocolate chips.

Crumbled cookies
Crumbl Cookies {Photo by Ethan Klein}

“New flavors drop Sunday night at 8 p.m.,” Blake said. “Then Ethan makes a video to post.”

Teenagers visit the local Crumbl in the Starbucks plaza on Coral Ridge Drive every week. They start with a toast, followed by a taste test and a brief honest review of each cookie quarter on a scale of 1-10. (Loyal Crumbl fans know they sell a cookie cutter that divides oversized cookies into four pieces.)

Then they post images of the cookies with unique captions. Mallory said that everyone is different, and they never repeat, like, “Life is sweeter with Crumbl’s cotton candy cookie” or “Your taste buds will go bananas,” referring to a cotton candy cookie. banana bread.

In addition to the cookie vouchers teens receive for trying out weekly programming, Crumbl headquarters also provides them with merchandise and giveaways for some of their 20,000 subscribers.

“We learned from Jason and Sawyer (Jason McGowan, Crumbl, CEO, and Sawyer Hemsley, COO) how we can improve,” Mallory said, explaining that they are part of the VIC or “very important crumbler” program. The trio were even invited to a meeting where the founders thanked their top 10 influencers.

Crumbled cookies
Crumbl Cookies Fan Blog {Photo by Ethan Klein}

Of over 200 flavors so far, Blake’s favorite is Birthday Cake with Oreo, Mallory is Brownie Sundae, and Ethan’s is Funfetti Milkshake.

Follow the Crumbl Cookies fan blog on Instagram or YouTube.

Crumbl Cookies is located at 6071 Coral Ridge Drive.

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Jill Fox

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Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning screenwriter and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.

Parkland sleep expert shares back-to-school rest tips Mon, 08 Aug 2022 15:16:54 +0000

DALLAS- Sleep is important for maintaining a good overall quality of life for adults and children. A regular schedule not only helps prevent fatigue, exhaustion and daytime sleepiness, but it lets the body know when it’s time to sleep and wake up.

But sometimes the relationship with sleep isn’t always positive, especially for those who can toss and turn throughout the night or even become sleepwalkers.

“In the weeks before students return to class, encourage them to begin adjusting their bedtimes and wake-up times in small 15-minute increments. Try going to sleep 15 minutes earlier and setting the alarm 15 minutes earlier,” said Marta Lynn Pardo, PhD, LSSP health psychologist and program/clinic developer with Parkland Health’s Pediatric Integrated Behavioral Health Program. .

Depending on the child’s age, physical activity and individual needs, the amount of sleep needed varies. According to the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Preschoolers (3-5 years old) need 10-13 hours of sleep
  • School-age children (6-13) need 9-11 hours of sleep
  • Teens (ages 14-17) need 8-10 hours of sleep

A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that nearly six out of 10 middle school students and at least seven out of 10 high school students don’t get enough sleep on school nights. Of the high school students surveyed, nearly two-thirds sleep less than eight hours a night.

Children and teens who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk for health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, poor mental health and injury. Additionally, they are more likely to have attention and behavior problems, which can contribute to poor academic performance in school, according to the CDC.

Sleep can also be a component of mental health issues, Dr. Pardo said. If an individual suffers from anxiety, the body and brain are on high alert.

“When it comes to bedtime, the goal is to be in a calm, relaxed state. If people have trouble overthinking, we want to practice relaxation or mindfulness exercises, like breathing deep or visualization, or trying strategies like writing down our worries or the tasks we think about that keep us awake,” she said.

An important part of sleep work is maintaining good sleep hygiene, Dr. Pardo said, noting that the bedroom should be screen-free and kept in a quiet, dark and cool environment between 68 and 72 degrees.

To fall asleep, Dr. Pardo recommends that evening activities before bedtime are conducive to rest. “Relaxation activities are anything quiet and restful and can include reading a book, singing lullabies to children and listening to music. This allows our body and brain to descend into this drowsy mode by becoming pleasant and relaxed, for a healthy night’s sleep.

If these tactics don’t work or are hard to find, Dr. Pardo recommends contacting a primary care provider who can refer a person to a mental health professional, a sleep specialist in the event that a more serious sleep disorder is at hand, and/or explore the option of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. Among the most common sleep disorders among Americans, insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and parasomnias such as sleepwalking or talking impact the amount and/or quality of sleep.

Lack of sleep has also been linked to hyperactivity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, irritability, impulsiveness and concentration problems, according to Dr. Pardo.

To learn more, visit

Chicken at the Door and General Contractor Fraud – Parkland Talk Sat, 06 Aug 2022 13:51:23 +0000

Crime Update for Parkland Florida

By Kevin Deutsch

Through our joint efforts with the Broward Sheriff’s Office to share updates with residents, here is a summary of crimes and more Park incidents until August 1, 2022.


Location redacted

On 07/28/2022, a witness heard broken glass and observed a subject wearing a tracksuit and ski mask inside the victim’s vehicle. The witness ran into a business to call 911 and returned, and the subject was gone. Unknown if in vehicle or on foot. Responding units have circulated for the subject, with negative results. The loss was a black duffel bag containing a MacBook Air laptop and a pair of headphones. Early. East. Loss: $1,350.


NW 63rd Road

A 45-year-old woman was a victim of Fraud – All Others on 07/27/2022. The Parkland resident hired a general contractor to build an air-conditioned shed in her backyard, paying $39,000. The work stopped six weeks ago and was poorly done. Now the GC refuses to return the money. Early. East. Loss: $39,000.


NW 112th Ter.

On 7/26/2022, unidentified persons left a fully cooked chicken on the doorstep outside the reporting person’s front door.

End of the trails

On 7/31/2022 a large group of people were playing on a soccer field and a ranger told them they were over the maximum number of people allowed without a permit. While addressing the issue, the large group surrounded the park ranger’s golf cart and became loud, telling him that they would not leave until they were shown the rules. The park ranger came out of the area and called BSO.

Retail shoplifting

Hillsboro Blvd.

On 7/27/2022, a subject removed two televisions valued at $300 and exited through the emergency exit door without attempting to pay.


NW 65th Ter.

A 67-year-old woman was the victim of Theft – All Others on 07/26/2022. The victim saw a man driving a white vehicle stop in front of his mailbox with the flag raised, open the mailbox, take his outgoing mail and leave. A single letter containing a check made payable to a water company was taken away. Early. East. Loss: $92.

Ranch Rd.

A 53-year-old woman was the victim of Theft – All Others on 07/26/2022. A subject was observed in CCTV footage removing mail from the victim’s mailbox, placing it in a basket and walking away. Contact has been made with the subject, and the mail has been retrieved and returned to the victim. The victim signed a waiver. Early. East. Loss: $1.

No arrests reported

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Kevin Deutsch

Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime reporter and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on the staff of the Miami Herald, New York Daily News and Palm Beach Post.

Lawyers for Parkland gunman Nikolas Cruz cry during sentencing trial Thu, 04 Aug 2022 13:48:00 +0000


The last thing Fred Guttenberg said to his 14-year-old daughter was that it was time for her to go, that she was going to be late. Hours after rushing his two children to school on Valentine’s Day morning in 2018, a gunman unleashed a barrage of gunfire inside a high school in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people, including Jaime Guttenberg.

During Tuesday’s sentencing proceedings for convicted gunman Nikolas Cruz, Guttenberg’s voice cracked as he spoke about the imagined future he had for Jaime, a future that never s never materialized. But those weren’t the only tears that fell in court — members of Cruz’s defense team were also crying, videos show.

“I don’t remember if I ever told Jaime that day how much I loved him. I didn’t know I would lose the opportunity to say it again and again,” Guttenberg said as the Public defender Nawal Najet Bashiman dabbed her eyes with a tissue.Two other members of Cruz’s team also shed tears during their testimony on Tuesday.

Jurors have heard from teachers, survivors and families whose lives have been turned upside down by the massacre since the trial began on July 18. They saw videos of students fleeing for their lives and listened to the screams and loud bangs that rang through the air that day. all to determine whether Cruz, who pleaded guilty in October, should be sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors arguing for the death penalty base their case on seven of the aggravating factors established by state law, including that Cruz’s actions were “particularly heinous, atrocious, or cruel.”

“These actions, killing 14 children, the athletic director, the coach and a teacher, are the reason we are here today – cold, calculating, manipulative and deadly,” said Broward County District Attorney Michael Satz, in his opening statement.

In Florida, a death sentence requires a unanimous jury recommendation. If sentenced to death, Cruz, now 23, would be one of the youngest to receive this sentence in decades.

Defense attorneys for Cruz – who had offered a guilty plea in return for a life sentence – previously painted a portrait of a troubled young man who showed signs of remorse after battling health issues mental and a difficult childhood. However, they announced on July 18 that they would not make an opening statement until it was time to present their case in the following weeks.

Four years after Parkland school massacre, parents of victims protest and mourn

In the meantime, however, the proceedings have been filled with testimonials from parents recounting heartbreak after heartbreak — stirring emotions even for those working to save Cruz’s life.

It’s rare for lawyers to cry in the courtroom, especially “based on something the other side has said,” said Keith Swisher, professor of legal ethics at James E. Rogers College of Law. from the University of Arizona.

As this is “an incredibly overwhelming, passionate and atypical case”, it is unlikely to lead to any negative consequences for lawyers, he said. This could, however, lead Cruz to seek a new lawyer, he added.

“In a typical court case … the client would likely feel betrayed and perhaps the wrong signal would be sent to the judge or jury if the client’s own attorney was crying based on the opposing party’s evidence or arguments,” he said. said Swisher. “If the crying or other visible signals could bias the jury against the defendant, the defendant may have a basis to appeal.”

On Tuesday, Thomas and Gena Hoyer described how the loss of their 15-year-old son Luke – affectionately called by his mother “Lukey Bear” – irreparably shattered what had been “a family unit of five always trying to fit in in a world set up for even numbers,” said Thomas Hoyer.

Luke had been a “surprise baby”, arriving several years after his older siblings. This morning of February 14, he woke up with a bag of Skittles and a card from his mother. His dad, on his way to work, shouted ‘Have a nice day’ from downstairs without seeing Luke’s face – in ‘the kind of casual exchange you have when you think you’re together for always,” Hoyer said, “and then we haven’t.”

During the Hoyers’ victim impact statement, public defenders Bashiman and Tamara Curtis couldn’t hold back their tears. Chief Public Defender Melisa McNeill suffered hers. Cruz was sitting expressionless.

Shortly after, Judge Elizabeth Scherer called for a 10-minute break.

As the assistants got up and started to clean the room, crumpled tissues could be seen on the table where the defense team sat – they would be used again.

]]> Grieving father erupts at Parkland school shooter trial Tue, 02 Aug 2022 18:20:48 +0000 FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A grieving father erupted in anger Tuesday as he spoke to jurors about the daughter of Florida school gunman Nikolas Cruz, who was murdered along with 16 others four years ago, his voice rising as he recounted his “infectious laugh that I can only watch now on TikTok videos.

Dr Ilan Alhadeff’s moving testimony about his 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa, marked a second day of tears as one family after another took the witness stand to make heartbreaking statements about their deceased loved ones at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on February 14, 2018.

He and his wife, Lori, described Alyssa’s role as captain of his football team, the friend others always turned to for advice or a shoulder to cry on, and her plan to become business lawyer. He cried as he said he wouldn’t dance with his daughter at her wedding or see the children she had.

“My eldest daughter, daddy’s girl was taken from me!” cried Alhadeff, internal doctor. “I can watch my friends, my neighbors, my co-workers hang out enjoying their daughters, enjoy all the normal stages, enjoy the normal joys, and I can only watch videos or go to the cemetery to see my daughter.”

He said one of Alyssa’s two younger brothers was too young to understand her death when it happened, but now “asks to visit her sister at the cemetery once in a while”.

“It is not normal!” he said angrily.

Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder in October; the trial must only determine whether he is sentenced to death or to life without parole. During the two days of family statements, he showed little emotion, though several of his attorneys wiped away tears and Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer’s voice cracked as she gave instructions. He mostly stares straight ahead, occasionally looking at the table where he is seated.

As one family testifies, others are sobbing in the gallery waiting their turn. They exchange packets of handkerchiefs, rub shoulders and, during the break, hug each other. Some jurors wipe away their tears, but most remain stoic.

Annika Dworet, her husband Mitch sitting darkly beside her, spoke to jurors about their son Nick, who was 17 when he died. A star swimmer, he had accepted a scholarship to the University of Indianapolis and was training in hopes of competing for his mother’s native Sweden in the 2020 Olympics. His younger brother, Alex, was injured in the shooting .

“He was always inclusive of everyone. On his last night with us, he spent time talking to the younger guys on the swim team, giving them some advice,” she said.

But now, she says, “our hearts will be broken forever.”

“We will always live with excruciating pain. We have an empty room in our house. There is an empty chair at our dining table. Alex will never have a brother to talk to or hang out with. They will never go a car ride, blasting some really loud music. We didn’t get to see Nick graduate from high school or college. We’ll never see him get married.

“We will always hesitate before answering the question: ‘How many children do you have?'”

Parkland, Camden livens up Saturday night with a memorable basketball game – The Morning Call Sun, 31 Jul 2022 12:17:27 +0000

Parking was at a premium. So that was a good view of the court Saturday night at Cedar Beach.

That’s because to end the longest day of the A-Town Throwdown, national powerhouse Camden played defending Eastern Pennsylvania Conference champion Parkland and fans lined the field, filled the stands and were at five depths in some places.

This game created a buzz that most schools would love for any winter regular season game, let alone a summer game starting at 9 p.m. While it’s hard to gauge the total attendance, the atmosphere was one of the best local summer basketball has had. in years.

The Trojans had an early 12-5 lead and were still tied at 19 at halftime before Camden finally wore down Parkland in the second half and won 60-53.

Camden rookie Ikena Alozie scored 16 points, 12 after halftime to lead the New Jersey team’s push.

Aaron Bradshaw, one of the nation’s top rookies with offers from Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland and many other top programs who would later put on a show by winning Throwdown’s slam-dunk contest, tagged 11 stitches. Dasear Haskins had 11 points in the second half as Camden had 41 points in the second half with an 18-minute clock.

The Throwdown slam-dunk contest was to follow the game, but Camden started it early with at least 10 dunks in their offensive spectacle. Even without the nation’s most coveted player, DJ Wagner, Jr., who was in attendance but didn’t play, the Jersey boys were unstoppable.

Still, Parkland coach Andy Stephens was delighted with the atmosphere and his team’s effort.

“Even though they were missing a few of their guys, they’re still a national powerhouse,” Stephens said. “But I think our guys had that look in their eyes before the game that they were going to play hard and not back down. I told them after the game that I was proud of the way they competed and that I didn’t back down. Even towards the end, when we were behind by eight or ten, they continued to compete. This desire for competition will eventually pay off. »

While Parkland could have made it tighter if he hadn’t missed several workable shots, Stephens wasn’t going to complain.

“We missed a lot of shots, but we made good plays,” he said. “We found the guys open and we shared the ball. We were hot early and missed a few shots towards the end, but we played well.

No one has played better for Parkland than Nick Coval, who is considered by most to be Lehigh Valley’s best returning player for the 2022-23 season. He spent much of the summer playing in top AAU tournaments.

Playing without Coval, the Trojans won the Lehigh Valley Summer Varsity League title on July 21.

But Parkland is clearly much better with him and Coval didn’t disappoint against Camden, scoring 26 points. He made five of the Trojans’ nine 3-pointers.

“It was a great vibe,” Coval said. “A lot of people showed up and it was great to see so many familiar faces. We learned a lot. We learned how to deal with these guys. Games like this will just make us better because we learn from it. This must be our state of mind at the end of this match.

Coval said while he knows many on Camden’s star-studded roster, he hasn’t faced them on the AAU circuit. Parkland lacked the size to compete with Camden and a 7-foot center like Bradshaw, but were able to pick up the pace and create scoring opportunities.

“We have a lot of shooters and guys who get into the paint and make plays for other people,” Coval said. “I think it will help us a lot. We are going to be very different from last year. We are going to be much smaller, but much faster. It’s going to be different, but it’s going to be okay. »

Parkland was hoping for a long run on Sunday. The Trojans were scheduled to open play in a Round of 16 game against Phillipsburg, NJ at 10:30 a.m.

As much as people would love to see a rematch between Camden and Parkland in the tournament final on Sunday night, that’s not going to happen. Camden couldn’t commit to staying for four games on Sunday and had to pull him from the tournament. It will be replaced by Muhlenberg Township, which was a finalist in last month’s Cedar Beach Showcase and Lehigh Valley Summer League.

Randy Atiyeh, one of the tournament directors, agreed with Camden’s decision.

“I would be lying if I told you I didn’t want to see the guys from Camden again on Sunday,” Atiyeh said. “But I would actually like to thank [Camden] coach Maalik Wayns as we had a great chat during the slam dunk contest and he was very honest with me after learning that they would no longer be available for the whole Sunday. We decided that he would rather give the place to a school that can commit to playing all day Sunday rather than his team playing one or two games and then having to bail us out.

Atiyeh said Camden players, including DJ Wagner, will be around Cedar Beach for a game on Sunday, but will not play.

“Wayns said he was looking forward to letting his guys be high school kids and letting them have fun and enjoy the park,” Atiyeh said. “Those who don’t appreciate what Camden did by coming to our event just don’t understand. To see the pure joy on all of our kids’ faces Saturday night was truly amazing. I’ve never seen the park like this of my life and we all appreciate it, although we would have liked to see them play more.

Due to the delay of Saturday’s games and the slam-dunk contest, the 3-point contest will take place after the conclusion of the championship game which is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start. Former Allen star Nate Ellis has won the 3-point contest three times during his Canaries’ career. The only time he didn’t win was in 2020 when there was no tournament due to COVID-19.

Boys Varsity Round-of-16 (10:30 a.m.) Parkland vs. Phillipsburg; Notre Dame-GP vs. St. John Vianney, Nj; Timber Creek, NJ vs. Reading; Freedom against Executive; (11:30 a.m.) Allen vs. Catholic Bethlehem; Camden vs. CD East; Emmaus versus Malvern Prep; Lower Merion vs. Newark Arts.

Varsity Girls, 12:30 p.m.

Quarterfinals Boys JV (12:30) Muhlenberg Twp vs. Team BLM; Boyertown versus Whitehall; (1:30) Reading versus Hatboro-Horsham; Malvern Prep versus Emmaus.

Boys’ varsity quarterfinals, 1:30 p.m.

Girls’ varsity semi-finals, 2:30 p.m.

JV boys semi-finals, 2:30 p.m.

Boys’ university semi-finals, 3:30 p.m.

JV Boys and Girls Championships, 4:30 p.m.

Women’s University Championship, 5:30 p.m.

Boys University Championship, 6:30 p.m.

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At Parkland trial, families must endure gruesome evidence repeatedly Fri, 29 Jul 2022 18:06:52 +0000

Robert Schentrup, 23, lost his younger sister Carmen in the Parkland shooting. (Grant Hindsley/The New York Times)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – To protect distressed families from the most gruesome details of how their loved ones were murdered in a mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the court handling the trial to determine the The shooter’s sentence has taken an extraordinary step: graphic videos and photographs are shown only to the jury, so that the victims’ relatives and others in the courtroom gallery do not have to endure them.

But the gruesome details, conveyed in moving testimonials, chilling audio recordings and unbiased forensic accounts, are impossible to completely avoid: how a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tied a baby blanket around her arm. a student injured like a tourniquet. How shots from a semi-automatic rifle exploded inside a classroom under attack. How powerful bullets ravaged children’s bodies.

Prosecutors argue the gruesome, though painful, details are needed to prove to the jury that the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, who pleaded guilty to 17 murders and 17 attempted murders, deserves the death penalty instead of life in prison without the possibility of parole. . The judge allowed the evidence over objections from defense attorneys, who say it is repetitive, gruesome and intended to prejudice the jury against their client.

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Such is the nature of capital punishment: Pursuing a death sentence, even against a defendant whose guilt has never been in doubt, requires putting a community that has already survived an unthinkable tragedy through more agony. .

Trials of gunmen who killed so many in mass shootings are rare, as they almost always died during the attack. The public is almost never compelled to confront the grim evidence of autopsy reports, surveillance videos and testimonies from survivors at proceedings held years after the deadly rampage.

Many families of Parkland’s victims approved of the prosecution by death penalty prosecutors, even knowing that the trial would be excruciating. They have sat in a downtown Fort Lauderdale courtroom nearly every day since the state began presenting its case last week, shaking their heads, dabbing at their eyes and holding each other to each other during the most difficult times.

Their opinion, however, is not unanimous. A small number of people connected to the tragedy have publicly opposed the death penalty, in part because the very process of getting a death sentence verdict and waiting the inevitable years of appeal would be so difficult.

“It won’t help us heal and get closure,” Michael B. Schulman, whose 35-year-old son Scott J. Beigel was killed in the shooting, wrote in 2019 in The South Florida Sun. Sentinel. While he thought Cruz deserved death, Schulman wrote, pursuing that sentence would involve reliving February 14, 2018, shooting again and again.

Robert Schentrup, whose 16-year-old sister Carmen was killed in the shooting, totally opposes the death penalty.

“Parkland happened because of a cascading series of systemic failures, which got someone to the point of committing a school shooting and buying a military-style rifle,” said Schentrup. “We need to focus on the systems that failed us, rather than what I believe to be a symptom of that failure.”

Yet Schentrup’s stance — which he described as shaped by his religious upbringing and by survivors of the 2015 church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, who preached forgiveness — is so unusual among the families of the Parkland victims who spoke about the trial that his parents have publicly disagreed with him. They think Cruz, 23, should be sentenced to death.

“That day the shooter should have been arrested,” Schentrup’s mother, April Schentrup, said. “We shouldn’t even have to endure this ordeal. If the police were doing what they were supposed to do, we wouldn’t be here.

Relatives of the victims filled several rows in the courtroom over the past two weeks, listening intently to lead prosecutor Michael J. Satz as he called dozens of witnesses. Some of the relatives have said they will not comment publicly while the trial is ongoing.

The experience of victims of similar tragedies underscores the distress of hearing the brutal details of the death of a loved one described in open court.

The Reverend Sharon Risher, whose mother, Ethel Lance, died in the Charleston church attack, recalled sitting in court during this shooter’s trial as a torturous ordeal — especially when prosecutors showed his mother’s autopsy report. “I felt like those 11 bullets were hitting my own body,” she said.

Even so, Risher said she has no regrets about attending the trial, which she described as one of the most difficult days of her life.

“You are able to confront your person in court, and that’s what it’s all about,” she said. “How could you not want to be here for this?”

Parkland’s trial is expected to continue in the fall, and the families of the victims will soon have an opportunity to address the jury.

Although the defendant’s guilt is not in issue, prosecutors must show jurors what happened in order to prove the aggravating factors required by Florida law to justify the death penalty, according to Gail Levine, a former Miami-Dade County prosecutor who tried 15 capital homicides. . Among the aggravating factors is that the murders were heinous, atrocious or cruel, and that they were carried out in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner.

“They have to prove there are 17 murders and 17 attempted murders,” Levine said. “The suffering endured by these people must be explained to the jury.”

The defense can argue — as they did in the Parkland case — that too much graphic evidence can taint the jury’s verdict, though judges often give prosecutors significant leeway.

“The defense is entitled not to have an overwhelmed jury,” said Robert M. Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida.

Several witnesses wept on the stand. Others testified for only a few minutes, with Satz asking minimal questions.

Anthony Borges, who was 15 at the time of the massacre, testified that he was shot five times while standing in the hallway. He opened his jacket during his testimony to show jurors the scars from gunshot wounds and 14 subsequent operations.

Some of the testimonies were chilling without being graphic: that two victims who were in the hallway tried to get to safety by knocking on their locked classroom door but were killed before they could enter. That Cruz ran away from school and went to a subway and a McDonald’s before being arrested. That the day before the massacre, he had searched the internet: “How long does it take for a cop to show up at a school shooting.”

Jurors also looked at surveillance footage of each shot victim and cellphone videos the students recorded during the shooting. They reviewed disturbing photographs of dead children in classrooms. And they saw autopsy photographs of almost all of the victims, most of whom had been shot more than once. A boy was hit with 12 gunshots, including four to the head.

Broward County Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Iouri Boiko said high-velocity bullets from the AR-15-style rifle caused significant damage, blowing off body parts and killing victims when their fragments hit internal organs .

“They explode like a blizzard,” he said of the bullets, which left large wounds as they exited. Reporters saw the graphic evidence at the end of each day of court hearings.

A girl suffered five wounds, including a fatal one to the head. Another girl, shot four times, had lost a large part of her arm. Boiko described how a fatal abrasion suffered by a third girl fractured her skull and caused brain damage. The same girl, who was shot nine times, suffered another fatal wound that severed her spinal cord. A third injury blew part of his shoulder blade.

At least one family walked out of the courtroom during Boiko’s testimony. The testimonies of other forensic doctors brought tears to some relatives of the victims. At one point, a juror also wiped away tears.

Some families, including the Schentrups, chose not to attend the trial at all. April Schentrup said she read occasional news articles or heard from families in attendance.

“We have no control over what happens in the courtroom with the jury,” she said. “They will make whatever decision they make. I feel like I understand what happened that day, and I don’t need to relive it.

Robert Schentrup said he would find the trial traumatic. He and his parents prefer to remember Carmen, who was in full swing as a young woman and wanted to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

“Healing, for me, is not something that will happen based on a verdict at the end of the trial,” he said.

© 2022 The New York Times Company

Broward Deputy Describes Jail Brawl With Confessed Parkland Shooter | National Wed, 27 Jul 2022 17:27:00 +0000

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Months after being jailed for the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the shooter got into a fight with a uniformed deputy guarding him at Broward Main Jail, an altercation that has was captured on surveillance video that was shown to a jury on Wednesday.

The video, which had already been made public, is not particularly graphic. It shows shooter Nikolas Cruz, in his prison-issued orange jumpsuit, exchanging words with Sgt. Raymond Beltran before rushing the deputy and grabbing his stun gun.

Beltran testified Wednesday during Cruz’s penalty phase trial at the Broward County Courthouse. Prosecutors ask jurors to consider the incident to decide whether Cruz should be sentenced to death or life in prison.

The fight between Cruz and Beltran lasted less than a minute on November 13, 2018, and the stun gun was fired. No one was hit, but Beltran said he was worried.

“He could taser me, he could incapacitate me. I was fighting to get my Taser back,” Beltran said.

Beltran eventually overpowered Cruz and no one was seriously hurt.

Cruz was due to stand trial for that assault in October when he and his defense team apparently changed tack, choosing to plead guilty not only to the prison battery, but also to the 17 murders and 17 attempted murders in the shooting at the school as well.

The jail case carries a maximum sentence of 15 years, but in light of the Parkland High School massacre, it will have no real effect on Cruz’s sentence unless jurors decide it weighs heavily. in favor of the imposition of the death penalty.

So far, defense attorneys have refused to cross-examine most witnesses, asking only a handful of questions to clarify legal issues or set the stage for the defense. For example, when the dealer who sold the gun to Cruz testified, the defense lawyers had him explain to the jury that the sale would have been illegal today. Cruz was 18 when he bought the gun. After the Parkland shooting, state law was changed to raise the age limit to 21.

Along with Beltran, defense attorneys wanted to ask about an apparent reckless driving incident in Washington state. Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer ruled the incident was irrelevant to the prison assault and did not reflect poorly on Beltran’s honesty, so the jury never heard the Questions.

Instead, Deputy Public Defender David Wheeler had Beltran told that he did not see a doctor after the incident and was placed on administrative duty for more than two years afterwards. At the time, defense attorneys tried to stop Beltran from keeping Cruz, but as a matter of principle, the sheriff’s office never banned Beltran from doing so.

Banning Beltran from guarding Cruz would have invited further assaults on jail deputies, attorneys for the Broward Sheriff’s Office said.

Testimony continued on Wednesday with deputies testifying to the recovery of the defendant’s mobile phone from the crime scene. When the trial opened, Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Satz told jurors about the chilling videos Cruz had recorded on that phone three days before the shooting. Cruz is seen enthusiastically discussing his filming plans.

“It’s going to be a biiiiig event,” he said. “When you see me on the news, you’ll know who I am.”

The cellphone also contains keys to the shooter’s social media story, which revealed his fascination with firearms and his disdain for various religious and ethnic groups.


©2022 South Florida Sun Sentinel. Go to Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Copyright 2022 Tribune Content Agency.

Parkland Trailer Parks to Close – Superior Telegram Mon, 25 Jul 2022 18:02:32 +0000

PARKLAND – Two mobile home parks in the town of Parkland are closing.

Other residents of Country Acres North and South, both located along Douglas County Road E, have until August 1 to vacate the property. Those who don’t leave will face eviction proceedings, according to Douglas County Administrator Ann Doucette. There are currently 12 caravans occupied – five in the north park and seven in the south park, she said.

The county took possession of the property through the tax deed process in June. According to online records, no taxes have been paid on the property since 2018.

County services have been working for more than a year to help the owner clean up the site, according to a July 19 update that Doucette sent to Douglas County Council.

“Resident safety has been and continues to be the top priority for our county departments,” she said in the update, and added that the Health Department’s trailer park filing was a few centimeters thick.

The parks license was not renewed in August 2021. Doucette said the owners did not send in the renewal application, but if they did, the county would have denied it. At this time, all residents received information for relocation.

A sign along Douglas County Road E in the town of Parkland marks the Country Acres South Mobile Home Park on Monday, July 25. It is one of two mobile home parks in the city that are set to close. The owners did not renew the permits in 2021 and Douglas County took possession of the property through the tax deed process in June.

Maria Lockwood / Upper Telegram

“To date, several residents remain current on utility payments and their trailers are not considered a danger to human health,” Doucette wrote in the update. “The relocation of this group represents a major challenge.

She said there were still 26 trailers on the property, 11 in the north park and 15 in the south park. A total of 10 trailers had been placarded – six in the north park and four in the south park – and there were four abandoned trailers in the south park.

“Once the remaining trailers are released or moved, the county will need to clean up the site or find a third party who may be willing to do so,” Doucette said. “The process is continuing and there will no doubt be further challenges ahead.”

072622.N.St.Country Acres trash can.JPG

Trash spills out of one of the uninhabitable mobile homes at Country Acres North Mobile Home Park in the town of Parkland on Monday, July 25. Five residents continue to live in the park, and seven mobile homes in Country Acres South Mobile Home Park are occupied. , according to Douglas County Administrator Ann Doucette.

Maria Lockwood / Upper Telegram

Douglas County Council Chairman Mark Liebaert told the health and social services board on July 14 that the estimated cost of cleaning up the parks was $80,000.

He said the county had been involved in negotiations with a third party interested in buying the property and cleaning it up, but the financing had not been forthcoming.

“This could be valuable property after being cleaned up,” said Ninth District Supervisor Alan Jaques, chairman of the health and human services board.

Doucette said the county’s ultimate goal is to clean up the site and put it back on the tax rolls. She planned to update the supervisory board on the matter at their August meeting.

072622.N.ST.Country acres broken trailer.JPG

A broken and uninhabitable mobile home rests between homes in better condition at Country Acres South Mobile Home Park along Douglas County Road E in the town of Parkland on Monday, July 25. This is one of two Parkland mobile home parks that are closing.

Maria Lockwood / Upper Telegram