The Parkland community — forever changed by a 2018 mass shooting. Forever remembering the 17 lives cut short.
Tony Montalto: "There’s no moving on there’s moving around the pain that we feel every day."
Gena Hoyer: "I know he’s with me and over my shoulder i know he’s with god. I miss him terribly. A sweet young man who had a life ahead of him."
But inside a courthouse, the case met an admission of guilt in front of victims families.
Judge: "To count one murder in the first degree of victim Luke Hoyer how do you plea?"
The school shooter changed his plea to guilty for 17 counts of murder and 17 counts attempted murder for the massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. Prosecutors walked through detail by detail the actions, and each victim.
Debbi Hixon: "Twelve shots, eight shots, three shots — that’s not someone who was at all remorseful for what he was doing."
The gunman asked to speak- saying this:
Nikolas Cruz: "I’m really sorry, and I hope you give me a chance to try to help others. I believe it’s your decision to decide where I go, whether I live or die — not the jury. I believe it’s your decision. I’m sorry."
Words that carried no meaning for family here.
Fred Guttenberg: "Irrelevant and we’re just one step closer to justice. I’ve got to go see my daughter."
Gena Hoyer: "That was useless. They’re going to use any words he used today in their defense to not get the death penalty."
Tony Montalto: "As a society we should want people who committed heinous acts like mass shootings to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We need to find a way to prevent people from wanting to copy these things."
The defendant now faces up to the death penalty — a jury expected to hear arguments next year.
Tamara Rice Lave: "The evidence is overwhelming against him so in this instance if he’s trying to save his life and his lawyers are trying to save his life it makes sense they think the best bet is that he’s going to fall on the sword and plead guilty and try to get some points from taking some responsibility for what he did."
Nothing can change what happened. But families leave this court room with a focus they’ve always had: on their loved ones.
Debbie Hixon: "We should be honoring the victims."
Tom Hoyer: "You go through that age and we’re sort of just getting on the cusp of what they’re gonna be. We’re not gonna see what he’s gonna be."