FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The lead prosecutor in Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s case on Tuesday made a final push to convince jurors to sentence him to the death penalty, telling them during closing arguments that the 2018 attack that killed 17 people , was cold, calculated and carefully planned and deserved execution.

Mike Satz said Cruz “hunted down his victims” as he walked around the three-story Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland for seven minutes, shooting multiple victims at close range with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and returning to the wounded. as they lay helpless to “finish them.”

He pointed to online recordings and videos of Cruz talking about his murderous urges, such as when he wrote: “No mercy, no questions, double tap. I’m going to kill … a ton of people and children.’

“They say that what they write and say is a window into their soul,” Satz said as the three-month trial drew to a close. The killings, he said, “were unrelentingly heinous, cruel and brutal.”

Cruz, 24, pleaded guilty a year ago before killing 14 students and three staff members and injuring 17 others on February 14, 2018. Cruz said he chose Valentine’s Day to make it impossible for Stoneman Douglas students to celebrate the holiday ever again. The jury will only decide whether to sentence him to death or life without parole. A unanimous vote is required for a death sentence.

Cruz, dressed in a white sweater, sat nonchalantly during Satz’s presentation, occasionally exchanging notes with his attorneys. His lead attorney, Melissa McNeill, will make her closing arguments later Tuesday. Discussions are expected to begin on Wednesday.

A large number of fathers, wives and family members of the victims filled the section of the courtroom reserved for them, watching Satz intently, many of them in tears. The mother of the slain 14-year-old girl fled the courtroom during Satz’s presentation before sobbing loudly in the hallway. A few minutes before, families greeted each other with smiles, handshakes and hugs.

Satz, who served as Broward County state’s attorney for 44 years before retiring early last year, went through the killings carefully, reminding jurors of the order in which the victims were killed and how Cruz looked some in the eye before shooting them multiple times. .

“They all knew what was going on, what was going to happen,” Satz said.

He talked about the death of a 14-year-old girl. Cruz shot her, then returned to shoot again, putting the gun to her chest.

“Right on her skin. She was shot four times and died,” said Satz. He then pointed to a YouTube video jurors saw during the trial in which Cruz said, “I don’t mind shooting a girl in the chest.”

“That’s exactly what he did,” Satz said.

His voice breaking, he ended his two-hour presentation by naming the 17 victims before saying that for their murders, “the appropriate sentence for Nikolas Cruz is the death penalty.”

This mass murder is the deadliest ever brought to trial in the United States. Nine other people in the US, who have fatally shot at least 17 people, died during or immediately after their attacks by suicide or police fire. The suspect in the 2019 mass murder of 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, is awaiting trial.

Social kept his main business simple for a jury of seven men and five women. It focused on Cruz’s eight-month planning and the attack, in which Cruz fired 140 shots, and his escape.

He showed video footage of the shooting and gruesome photos from the crime scene and autopsy. Faculty and students testified about watching others die. He led the jury into a fenced-in building that remained stained with blood and bullet holes. Parents and spouses gave tearful and angry statements.

McNeill and her team never questioned the horror Cruise caused, but instead focused on their belief that his birth mother, Brenda Woodard’s, excessive drinking during pregnancy resulted in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Their experts said his strange, disturbing and sometimes violent behavior since age 2 had been misdiagnosed as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, meaning he never received proper treatment. That left his widowed foster mother, Linda Cruz, depressed, they said.

Satz disputed the allegations, saying in her argument that medical records did not support the claim that Woodard had been drinking during her pregnancy. He said records show Linda Cruz took her son to numerous psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists throughout his childhood.

The defense scaled back its case, calling only about 25 of the 80 witnesses it said would testify. They never mentioned Cruz’s high school years or called his younger half-brother, Zachary, who was accused of bullying.

In rebuttal, Satz and his team argued that Cruz did not suffer from alcohol-induced fetal harm, but that he has an antisocial personality disorder – simply put, he is a sociopath. Their witnesses said Cruz faked brain damage during the test and that he was capable of controlling his actions but chose not to. For example, they pointed to his work as a cashier in a discount store, where he never had disciplinary problems.

Prosecutors also played numerous videotapes of Cruz discussing the crime with his mental health experts, where he talks about his planning and motivation.

The defense used its cross-examination during its rebuttal case to argue that Cruz was sexually molested and raped by a 12-year-old neighbor when he was 9 years old.