Scott Peterson’s trial began Wednesday, with jurors responding appropriately to the former school resource officer who remained outside his Parkland, Fla., high school when 17 people were shot five years ago. I heard the opening statement about whether.
Peterson’s lawyers argued that their client was unable to locate the shooter from the sound of the gunshot and did the best they could with the information they had.
Prosecutors told jurors that the state had witnesses who testified that they heard gunshots from the 1200 building.
The state government said Peterson, then a lieutenant with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, remained outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, and held himself for at least 45 minutes while a former student opened fire. and accused of failing to follow active marksmanship training. This remains the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history. Among the dead were 14 students and 3 staff members. 17 others were injured.
In his opening statement, prosecutor Stephen Klinger gave jurors a detailed chronology of the shootings, in which he said “17 beautiful people were lost.”
But a gunshot rang out inside building 1200 of the school, and when Peterson arrived on the scene, Klinger said he took a position on the floor between buildings 700 and 800 nearby.
“The defendant never leaves the alcove while the perpetrator is in the building,” Klinger said, adding that Peterson remained motionless for about 48 minutes.
The incident highlights the expectations of police officers to deal with active shooters as the country faces an endless scourge of gun violence in schools and elsewhere in Parkland. Uvalde, Texas. And Newtown, Connecticut, is remembered as the scene of one of the most horrific massacres.
Mr. Peterson attributed each of the victims to the shootings on the third floor of the 1200 building, Klinger said, pleading not guilty to 11 counts, including seven felonies of child neglect and three counts of negligence. According to the affidavit, he was charged with one count of perjury, including telling investigators that he only heard a few shots after arriving at the scene of the shooting, but other witnesses. Some say they have heard more.
But amid mounting criticism of his alleged failures, the retired 60-year-old insisted he had done nothing wrong. Peterson said he didn’t know where the gunshots were coming from, so he didn’t enter the scene of the massacre in Building 1200 of the school.
Defense attorney Mark Eigrash said in his opening statement that the defense had 22 witnesses who would also testify that they were confused about the location of the shooting. Aigrash said there was “a noticeable echo and reverberation” at the scene, and witnesses wondered, “Where is the sound coming from?”
But other witnesses, including another staff member who was with Peterson when he arrived, understood what the former lieutenant was not alleging, Klinger told jurors.
Aigrash stressed that the shooting lasted only 6 minutes and 36 seconds and that Peterson was on the scene for the last 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Peterson wasn’t even there when the first victim was murdered on the ground floor.
While showing jurors a photo of the shooter, Aiglás said one person was responsible for the carnage that day. He claimed his client was a scapegoat who was indicted in the case after a “biased and unsuccessful investigation.”
Before the shooting, Aigrash said, Peterson had served more than 30 years and was a dedicated, decorated police officer who had won awards such as Lieutenant of the Year and School Resource Officer of the Year. It is said that
“We are here with a man with an illustrious career serving the community for 32 years, and literally in 4 minutes and 15 seconds they are claiming he has become a criminal,” Aiglache said. Told.
Jury selection began last Wednesday, with a panel of six jurors and four alternates tasked with reviewing the state’s unusual case, experts told CNN. He explained that this was the first time such an incident had occurred and that it was legally unreasonable.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office prosecuted Mr. Peterson under Florida law that normally applies to custodians, and the deputy at the time, in his capacity as a school resource officer, was responsible for the protection of high school students and staff. claimed to have been a caregiver.
Peterson was in the school administration building on February 14, 2018, when gunmen opened fire on the ground floor of the 1200 building, according to the affidavit of probable cause. According to the affidavit’s timeline, Peterson arrived at the building’s east entrance about two minutes later.
About 75 feet away, Peterson “positioned himself behind the wall of the stairwell on the northeast corner of the 700 Building” (the third structure on campus), the affidavit said, stating that Peterson stated that he used it as a “hiding place” and photographed.
In a blow to both the state and the defense, a judge ruled last week that jurors would not go to the scene of the shooting, as jurors did in the shooter’s trial, CNN affiliate WPLG reported. Aigrash wanted jurors to see the exterior of the 1200 building, which was preserved until the trial of the shooter and Peterson, but prosecutors wanted jurors to see the inside of the building as well. was
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Two staff members look at a memorial in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 23, 2018, as teachers and staff return for the first time since the Parkland, Fla., shooting.
Aigrash told CNN that Peterson’s attorneys said the client’s confusion about the shooter’s whereabouts was reasonable, as were others at the scene, including law enforcement officials, teachers and students. He said he intends to make partial claims. The attorney also argued that Peterson’s actions at the scene indicated that he was not at fault.
Additionally, Aigrash told CNN that he did not agree with the decision to prosecute his client under the Managers Act, calling the choice “absurd”.
“He’s not a legal caregiver,” Aiglache said, admitting he understands the argument. “But he is not a teacher, nor a parent, nor a kidnapper responsible for the well-being of children. He is not employed by the school system.”
In the past, Peterson and his lawyers have argued that the Custodian Act did not apply to him, stressing that one person was responsible for the day’s casualties, the shooter Nicholas, who pleaded guilty at age 17. He emphasized that it was Cruz (19 years old at the time). He was charged with 17 counts of murder and attempted murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole after a jury unanimously rejected the death penalty last year.
This result angered and disappointed many victims’ families. Some see Peterson’s trial as a new opportunity for justice.
Tony Montalt, the father of 14-year-old victim Gina Montalt, told CNN before the jury was selected, “The lawyers and agents who failed to act properly were portrayed as victims. or should not be allowed to do so,” he said. “He had a responsibility to keep students and staff safe, but he failed to do so.”
“I hope that whatever the outcome of the trial, I am haunted daily by the fact that my actions have taken lives,” he said.