This Crime Scene Was Frozen In Time, And It Will Make Your Skin Crawl…

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On that Valentine’s Day in 2018, flowers given to celebrate love lay wilted, their dried and cracked petals scattered across classroom floors that were still covered in the blood of those who had been shot and killed by a former pupil more than four years earlier.

At Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where gunman Nikolas Cruz killed 14 students and three staff members, bullet holes pocked the walls, and glass fragments from windows broken by gunfire crunched underfoot. Except for the removal of the victims’ bodies and a few belongings, nothing had been altered.

After retracing Cruz’s steps through the three-story freshman building, known as “Building 12,” the jury of twelve regular members and ten alternates, who will decide whether Cruz receives the death penalty or life in prison, made a rare trip to the crime scene on Thursday. After they left, a group of journalists were allowed in for a much quicker first public view.

With the exception of removing the deceased and some personal things, Joan Murray of WFOR-TV in Miami summarized her feelings as she toured a school that had not altered since the day of the shooting in a video.

“You feel the spirit of these people and the terror, what it must’ve been like being trapped in those classrooms, especially those poor students trapped in the hallway. And, to see the stains, the bullet holes in the wall in a corner, and how they must’ve been cowering. They fought for their life,” Murray said, “It was really frozen in time.”

It was a horrifying sight: large pools of dried blood still covered the classroom floors. Where one of the victims’ bodies had once been, a lock of dark hair was resting on the ground. There was just one black rubber shoe in the hallway. Six individuals died in the hallway, which was littered with burnt rose petals and a plush bear that had been abandoned.

Unfinished lessons were visible in open notebooks in every classroom. In the classroom where Holocaust education was being imparted to pupils by instructor Ivy Schamis, a blood-covered book titled “Tell Them We Remember” was perched atop a desk punctured by bullets. There were two pupils who died, and a note on the bulletin board said, “We will never forget.”

There were writings about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani youngster who was shot by the Taliban for attending school, in the English instructor Dara Hass’s class, where the majority of the victims were killed. Malala Yousafzai has since become a global advocate for women’s and girls’ access to education.

“A bullet went straight to her head but not her brain,” one student wrote. “We go to school every day of the week and we take it all for granted,” wrote another. “We cry and complain without knowing how lucky we are to be able to learn.”

Like other doors, Room 1255’s door, which led to instructor Stacey Lippel’s classroom, was forced open to indicate that Cruz had fired into it. Inside, there was a “No Bully Zone” sign hanging on the wall, and the day’s creative writing prompt was written on the whiteboard: “How to compose the ideal love letter.”

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today,” is a quotation by James Dean that was still affixed to the wall of a second-floor hallway.

A laptop was still open on Scott Beigel’s desk in the geography class when he was murdered. Assignments from students comparing the beliefs of Islam and Christianity persisted; some were assessed, and some were ignored. The Winter Olympics had started five days earlier, and Beigel, the cross-country coach at the school, had been writing the gold, silver, and bronze medalists in each event on his whiteboard.

According to The Sun-Sentinel, Cruz switched his focus to two windows on the third level, where six gunshot holes can be seen, after killing his final two victims.

The assessment states that Cruz would have had a clear shot at hundreds of kids fleeing the campus had the glass shattered.

Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of first-degree murder; the trial is only to determine if he is sentenced to death or life without parole.

The visit is intended to demonstrate that Cruz’s actions were cold, calculated, heinous, and cruel; they increased the risk of many people dying, and they “interfered with a government function”—all aggravating factors under Florida’s capital punishment law. Prosecutors rested their case after the jury’s tour.

When the jury retraced Cruz’s steps from floor to floor on February 14, 2018, firing through hallways and into classrooms, they were prohibited from speaking to the jurors by Florida court regulations, and they were also forbidden from speaking to one another.

The jury had already seen CCTV footage of the incident and pictures of its aftermath before the tour.

Watch it here: Youtube/Law&Crime Network, Youtube/CBS Miami

Sources: Westernjournal, Cbsnews, Sun-sentinel

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