Lifestyle & Human Interest

Even Parkland Shooter's Lawyers Can't Help but Cry as Families Deliver Heartbreaking Tales of What Really Happened That Day


No pain could possibly be greater than the pain of losing a child.

In 2018, 14 students — along with three staff members — were murdered at Stoneman High School by then-19-year-old Nikolas Cruz in Parkland, Florida, leaving all of their parents feeling that impossible pain.

On Tuesday, with the trial of Cruz soon coming to a close, some of those parents shared their grief in the form of incredibly powerful victim impact statements.

In fact, the pain shared was so great that even Cruz’s lawyers were reduced to tears.

Assistant Public Defenders Tamara Curtis and Nawal Najet Bashimam, along with Chief Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeil, were all forced to dab away tears during the testimonies, according to WPLG.

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Gena Hoyer, the mother of a 15-year-old boy killed by Cruz, cried as she recalled how she used to affectionately call her son Luke “Lukey Bear.”

“It’s excruciating agony. I am heartbroken. A piece of my heart is missing. My life and my family will never be the same,” she said, according to WPLG.

Tom Hoyer, the father of Luke, also gave his testimony.

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“I don’t know that I will ever find real peace,” he said.

Fred Guttenberg, the father of a 14-year-old girl murdered by Cruz, also spoke.

Video of his testimony shows Bashimam wiping away tears.

Cruz already pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, according to CNN.

Now it’s up to the jury to decide: Will Cruz receive life in prison for his crimes or the death penalty?

If the jury was as affected by the parents of Cruz’s victims as his own lawyers appeared to be, the latter seems to be much more likely.

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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