In court on Tuesday, family members of the 17 students and staff members who were murdered in the Parkland high school shooting are confronting the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, in victim impact statements. These words will be read before Cruz is officially sentenced to life in prison.

For the 2018 shooting rampage that Nikolas Cruz conducted when he was just 19-year-old at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, a Florida jury decided last month to convict Cruz of first-degree murder and sentence him to life in prison rather than the death penalty.

The conviction infuriated the parents of several of the victims, who said that sparing Cruz the death sentence may send the wrong message to anyone who might commit school shootings in the future.

For the jury to reach a verdict of death for Cruz, they needed to reach a judgment unanimously.

While speaking on behalf of her son Ben, who had been shot three times, including once in the back, Bree Wikander was overtaken with emotion as she delivered her speech. Ben, who was 17 at the time, sustained serious injuries in the incident.

“One of Ben’s trauma surgeons … once said to us, Ben sustained injuries similar to what a soldier would in combat,” she said.

“To this day he is still recovering,” Bree Wikander said. “You will never understand the pain that he has gone through. His life and the lives of our entire family have changed forever both physically and mentally.”

Eric Wikander, Ben’s father, expressed his hope that Cruz would have a “painful existence” behind bars, adding that this would be “a fraction of what Ben endured.”

Stacy Lippel, a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, addressed Nikolas Cruz in court and stated,“You don’t know me, but you tried to kill me.”

“I will have a scar on my arm and the memory of you pointing your gun at me engrained in my brain forever. The person I was at 2:20 on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, is not the same one who stands here today. I am broken and altered and I will never look at the world the same way again,” Lippel said. “A part of me is damaged and I can feel how different I am.”

She said that she has trouble trusting people, that she always worries about the worst-case situation, and that she is left with feelings of guilt because she wishes she could have done more to help her coworkers and students.

Lippel expressed her “disgust” at the decision to save Cruz’s life rather than give him the death punishment.

“My hope for you is that you die sooner rather than later,” calling him a “monster.”

Following Ms. Lippel’s testimony, the Honorable Elizabeth Scherer referred to her as a “hero.”

Alyssa Alhadeff’s grandmother, Terri Rabinovitz, believes that the Florida Supreme Court needs to reconsider the rule that stipulates that the verdict for the death sentence must be agreed upon by all members of the jury. Alyssa was 14 years old when she was murdered.

“I’m too old to see you live out your life sentence, but I hope your every breathing moment here on earth is miserable and you repent for your sins, Nikolas, and burn in hell,” she said. In the aftermath of the Cruz judgment, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has made a plea to the state legislature to revise the rules for the application of the death penalty.