One of the 12 jurors in the Parkland school shooting sentencing trial said a fellow juror was adamant about giving the gunman a life sentence from the moment deliberations began.
The jury on Thursday spared the life of gunman Nikolas Cruz in the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead and 17 others injured.
The jury began deliberating the case Wednesday morning and spent about seven hours total in deliberations.
A 39-year-old man who served on the jury told NBC 6 that one fellow juror was adamant about giving the killer life from the start of deliberations, and said there were several who were undecided at first.
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He said some jurors weren't very cooperative but the "majority of us were deliberating."
After the jury asked some questions and sought to view the rifle used in the killings late Wednesday, they were sequestered in a hotel for the night.
"A couple of us said 'let's rest, come back and go over this,'" the juror said.
But he said by Thursday morning, after the jurors viewed the rifle, "it ended up starting the same way as the day before."
Under Florida law, a death sentence requires a unanimous vote on at least one count. The jury found there were aggravating factors to warrant the death penalty for each victim, but one or more jurors also found mitigating factors. In the end, the jury could not agree that the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating ones, so the gunman will get life without parole.
The juror could not put an exact count on the split, other than the one who was adamant for life, because those who were undecided did not have to commit with finality because it was clear they were not going to be unanimous.
He surmised one or two others may have been for life in the end.
“Based on the law it’s just the way it is. I respect the decision of the ones that didn’t want to deliberate," the juror said. "They were stuck in their decision."
Another juror said she did her best to persuade the adamant juror, saying she even offered to put photos of the victims on wall to reinforce the horrific nature of what the gunman did.
In a letter to the judge Thursday, the juror who was adamant for life said she was fair and unbiased and hadn't made up her mind until the conclusion of the trial.
"This allegation is untrue and I maintained my oath to the court that I would be fair and unbiased," the letter stated. "The deliberations were very tense and some jurors became extremely unhappy once I mentioned that I would vote for life."