Prosecutors in the high-profile Parkland school shooter trial have filed a motion to have law enforcement interview a juror who reported feeling threatened by a peer on the panel.
The motion by the Broward County State Attorney’s Office was filed Thursday evening.
It came hours after the jury returned its verdict sparing Nikolas Cruz the death penalty, and instead recommending life in prison without the possibility of parole in the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17.
According to the motion, a juror referred to as “Juror X” called the state attorney’s office around 2 p.m. and requested to speak with Assistant State Attorney Michael Satz, the lead prosecutor in the trial.
The juror told a support staff member that “during deliberations, she received what she perceived to be a threat from a fellow juror while in the jury room.”
The motion says the state attorney’s office did not return Juror X’s call but instead filed a notice to the court.
“The State requests an interview be granted to investigate this serious allegation because a crime may have been committed,” the filing said.
The motion requests that law enforcement, rather than the court, conduct the interview with Juror X.
The jury’s verdict Thursday, which was highly anticipated, left family members whose loved ones were massacred by the gunman distraught, some visibly crying and shaking their heads in court. In statements later, many said the jury made the wrong decision.
The jury needed to reach an unanimous vote on at least one of the 17 counts — one for each victim — to recommend the death sentence.
The jury determined there were aggravating factors that could warrant the death penalty for each of the 17 victims — but also found mitigating factors. Ultimately the aggravating factors did not outweigh the mitigating factors, the jury found, and the shooter was sentenced to life.