FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A fired Florida sheriff’s deputy who was accused of failing to confront the gunman who murdered 17 individuals at a Parkland highschool 5 years in the past stated Monday he’s “wanting ahead” to his trial, which is scheduled to start out subsequent week.
Former Broward County Deputy Sheriff Scot Peterson informed reporters after a courtroom listening to that the general public must know that he pulled out all of the stops when Nikolas Cruz murdered 14 college students and three employees members at the highschool. Marjory Stoneman Douglas on February 14, 2018.
Peterson, the officer then assigned to the college, says he didn’t cost into the three-story classroom constructing throughout the six-minute bloodbath as a result of he thought the handfuls of pictures had been coming from outdoors. He was armed with a pistol on the time.
Mother and father of some victims have labeled Peterson “the coward from Broward.” Free on bail, he now lives in North Carolina and will face practically a century in jail if convicted.
“I need the reality to come back out and if it will be by means of a trial, so be it. I am wanting ahead to it,” Peterson stated. “Not simply the individuals of Florida, the nation, most significantly, the households, have to know the reality about what occurred, as a result of sadly it has by no means been informed.”
Peterson, 60, is charged with seven counts of kid neglect and three counts of negligence for the ten individuals Cruz shot on the third ground, six of them fatally, after Peterson arrived on the constructing. The previous deputy isn’t charged in reference to the 11 useless and 13 injured on the primary ground earlier than he arrived.
Prosecutors say Peterson’s actions present he knew the pictures had been coming from inside and will have prevented among the capturing if he had confronted Cruz, who was armed with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle.
Peterson’s legal professional, Mark Eiglarsh, stated there are 22 protection witnesses who will testify who additionally thought the pictures got here from someplace aside from the classroom constructing.
“He isn’t the one one who heard these pictures and believes they got here from a unique location,” Eiglarsh stated.
Peterson retired shortly after the capturing, was retroactively fired, and indicted a 12 months later.
Jury choice is scheduled to start Could 31 with opening statements in early June. The trial may final till August.
Throughout Monday’s listening to, Circuit Decide Martin Fein denied Eiglarsh’s request to delay the trial till August. The lawyer stated that a few of his witnesses have holidays and different conflicts and say they won’t seem. Fein stated if witnesses are subpoenaed, they do not have a alternative.
The choose additionally expressed skepticism in regards to the prosecution’s request that jurors stroll the blood-stained hallways of the classroom constructing, one thing Cruz’s jurors did throughout his sentencing trial final 12 months. The constructing has stood and sealed since days after the capturing and is anticipated to be demolished after Peterson’s trial.
Prosecutor Steven Klinger informed the choose that jurors have to see the distances contained in the constructing. However Fein appeared to agree with Eiglarsh, who says there may be sufficient video and photograph proof to point out the distances and that having jurors tour the constructing would solely inflame their feelings. Fein stated that he would concern his ruling later.
Nonetheless, the jury will possible be taken to the college to view the outside space the place Peterson was throughout many of the assault.
To acquire a conviction, prosecutors should persuade a jury that Peterson knew the gunman was capturing contained in the constructing and that his actions and inaction uncovered extra victims to hurt.
Safety video reveals that 36 seconds after the assault started, Peterson left his workplace about 100 yards from the constructing and jumped right into a automobile with two unarmed civilian safety guards, based on a state report. They arrived on the crime scene a minute later.
Peterson received off the cart close to the primary ground entrance to the east of the classroom constructing into the primary ground hallway, whereas the gunman was on the reverse finish, firing quite a few pictures.
Peterson, pistol in hand, didn’t open the door. As an alternative, he took refuge outdoors subsequent to a neighboring constructing.
“It was so sturdy and so shut. I believed he was most likely outdoors,” Peterson informed investigators two days after the capturing.
He stated he heard “two, three” pictures, although safety guards informed investigators they heard many extra, clearly coming from contained in the constructing.
Inside, Cruz went as much as the higher flooring of the constructing and fired an estimated 75 extra pictures over practically 4 minutes.