Grieving father erupts during trial of gunman Parkland


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (UKTN) — A grieving father burst into anger on Tuesday when he told the jury about the daughter who murdered Nikolas Cruz, the Florida school shooter, along with 16 others four years ago. now only get to watch TikTok videos.”

dr. Ilan Alhadeff’s emotional testimony about his 14-year-old daughter Alyssa marked a second day of tears as families, one after another, took the stand to make heartbreaking statements about their loved ones who died at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. February 14, 2018.

He and his wife, Lori, described Alyssa’s role as captain of her soccer team, the friend others would turn to for advice or a shoulder to cry on, and her plans to become a corporate lawyer. He cried when he said he would not dance with his daughter at her wedding or see the children she would have had.

“My firstborn daughter, daddy’s girl has been taken from me!” shouted Alhadeff, an internist. “I can see my friends, my neighbors, co-workers enjoying their daughters, enjoying all the normal milestones, enjoying the normal pleasures, and I can watch videos alone or go to the graveyard to see my daughter.”

He said one of Alyssa’s two younger brothers was too young to understand her death when it happened, but now “asks to visit his sister in the cemetery from time to time.”

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“This is not normal!” he said angrily.

Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty to 17 first-degree murders in October; the trial is only to determine whether he has been sentenced to death or life without parole. During the two days of family statements, he has shown little emotion, even as several of his attorneys wiped away tears and Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer’s voice broke as she gave directions. He usually stares straight ahead or looks down at the table where he sits.

As one family testifies, others in the gallery sob in anticipation of their turn. When they are ready, they continue to provide support. They exchange packs of tissues, rub shoulders and, when the break comes, hugs. Some jurors wipe tears, but most sit stoically.

Some families have had statements read to them. The mother of 14-year-old Martin Duque wrote that while he was born in Mexico, he wanted to become a US Navy Seal. The wife of assistant football coach Aaron Feis wrote that he was a loving father to their young daughter and a mentor to many young people.

The mother of 16-year-old Carmen Schentrup wrote that she was a straight-A student whose letter announcing she was a semifinalist for a National Merit Scholarship arrived the day after her death. She wanted to become a doctor who researched amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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Shara Kaplan sobbed as she told the judges of her two sons’ grief for not being there to protect their little sister, 18-year-old Meadow Pollack.

Luke Hoyer’s mother, Gina, said the 15-year-old was her “miracle baby,” her “Lukey Bear.” She said he yelled downstairs that Valentine’s Day morning to thank her for the card and Skittles she left in his bathroom. The gifts stayed there for a year. His father, Tom, said he had never seen his son that morning, but shouted “Have a nice day” as he hurried to work. “That’s the kind of exchange you have when you think you have tomorrow,” he said.

Fred Guttenberg, who has become a national advocate for tougher gun laws, said he regrets that the last words he said to his 14-year-old daughter Jaime were not “I love you” but instead, “You have to go.” “You’re I’ll be late,” as he pushed her and her older brother out the door that morning, saying his son was mad at him for telling him to run when he called in panic to say that there was a shooter at school instead of him finding his sister, even though it wouldn’t have made any difference.

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His wife, Jennifer Guttenberg, said that while her daughter was known for her competitive dance, she volunteered with the Humane Society and with special needs children. She planned to become a pediatric physiotherapist.

Annika Dworet, her husband Mitch sitting gloomily next to her, told the judges about their son Nick, who was 17 when he died. He was a star swimmer, had taken a scholarship to Indianapolis University and trained in hopes of competing for the 2020 Olympics in his mother’s native Sweden. His younger brother, Alex, was injured in the shooting.

“He was always inclusive to everyone. On his last night with us, he spent time talking to the younger kids on the swim team and giving them some tips,” she said.

But now, she said, “our hearts will be broken forever.”

“We will always live in excruciating pain. We have an empty bedroom in our house. There is an empty chair at our dining table. Alex will never have a brother to talk to or hang out with. They will never drive again, banging very loud music We didn’t see Nick graduating from high school or college We will never see him get married.

“We will always hesitate before answering the question, ‘How many children do you have?'”


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