Judge: Parkland High Shooter's Instagram Photos Can Be Shown to Jury Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz is shown seated at the defense table as he appears in court to plead guilty at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Oct. 20, 2021. (Amy Beth Bennett-Pool/Getty Images)
By Jeffrey Rodack | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 08:08 AM
Photos on the Instagram account of the man who shot and killed 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school can be seen by jurors, who will decide whether he is sentenced to death or life in prison, a judge has ruled.
According to Local 10 television in South Florida, attorneys for Nikolas Cruz had argued on Monday that someone who publicly posts on Instagram has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
“He is not required to make his Instagram private to have a reasonable expectation of privacy,” assistant public defender Nawal Bashimam told Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer.
Cruz has pleaded guilty to the 2018 killings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Before the shootings, there was an Instagram photo of Cruz holding a semiautomatic firearm in addition to other photos of assault rifles and ammunition, the TV station reported, attributing its information to court records.
Judge Scherer ruled the photos can be seen by the jurors since Cruz’s Instagram account was open to anyone before the shootings, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“How can you possibly have a reasonable expectation of privacy when the entire world can see it?” Scherer asked.
Cruz, now 23, had entered his guilty plea in October to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted premeditated murder.
Since prosecutors have refused to take possibility of a death sentence off the table, a jury must now be seated to decide Cruz’s fate, the newspaper noted.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Feb. 21.