“Since the prefrontal cortex of your brain is not developed, I will keep this very simple for you, to your IQ of 83… You are nothing.”
Natalie Hixon, sister of Chris Hixon, one of the victims of Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz, made this statement directly to Cruz during Tuesday’s hearing as families finally had the chance to share their thoughts and grievances before the killer is sentenced to a life without parole in prison.
Last year, Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder on Valentine’s Day of 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. However, after a month-long trial, a Florida jury could not unanimously agree that the killer’s actions were deserving of the death penalty, leaving families in despair and disbelief.
Now, in a courtroom spiraling with emotions, Cruz sits and listens to the statements from those whose lives he directly impacted in ways unimaginable. Here’s what some of them had to say.
Debbie Hixon, widow of Chris Hixon
“He was stolen from us by an unimaginable act that you planned and executed. You stole him from us, and you did not receive the justice that you deserved. There is no mitigating circumstance that will ever outweigh the heinous and cruel way you stole him from us. You were given a gift. A gift of grace and mercy. Something you did not show to any of your victims. I wish nothing for you today. After today, I don’t care what happens to you… You will cease to exist.”
Bree Wikander, mother of survivor Ben Wikander
“One of Ben’s trauma surgeons, who was a surgeon in the military, once said to us, ‘Ben sustained injuries similar to what a soldier would in combat.’ That really put it into perspective for us.”
“Ben was shot three times on February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas… These were not graced wounds; he was shot through and through. Ben spent 14 days in the hospital and has gone through seven surgeries with the possibility of more in the future. He endured countless painful procedures on a daily basis while in the hospital. Ben was brave and strong and inspired even the doctors and nurses that got to know him.”
David Robinovitz, grandfather of victim Alyssa Alhadeff
“I’m Alyssa Alhadeff’s grandfather, and she was my friend. I thought about today, somewhat. And I realized I kind of came to a conclusion that you guys won, for now. And basically, we lost, for now. But that’s not going to happen, because Parkland murderer, there’s going to come a day, it could be a week from now, it could be a month from now, it could be 40 years from now.
“You’re gonna die. When you die, it is my fondest hope that they take you and burn you and take your ashes and throw them in the garbage dump. You know why? Because garbage to garbage.”
The hearing will continue through Wednesday, Nov. 2.