A Florida judge will allow a retrial in a civil suit against the sheriff’s office in the Parkland school shooting by Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 children.
Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips on Wednesday granted requests from four families who lost children in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The families are currently suing the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Scott Peterson, alleging that more could have been done to save and help children in need.
Plaintiffs said a reenactment of the events of that day would show that ‘Peterson could hear the gunshots and knew where they were coming from.’
In late June, the deputy, 60, pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, including child neglect, in a criminal trial against him. Peterson escaped safely during the shooting.
The families are currently suing the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Scott Peterson (pictured) alleging that more could have been done to save and help the children.
A judge’s decision to allow a retrial comes five years after Nikolas Cruz (pictured) killed 17 students inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
On February 14, 2018, 17 children were killed inside a Parkland, Florida school.
The families of victims Luke Hoare, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Alex Schachter and survivor Madeleine Wilford will soon be able to handle a reunion, the judge said.
Phillips told the court, ‘This rescheduling, if it is to happen, will be within the next month.’
‘I want to make sure this is done before school starts,’ the judge continued.
The reenactment will take place in the 1200 building of the school where students were shot and killed on February 14, 2018.
Lawyers for the family argued that a ‘resurrection that would parallel the movements of the killers and the gunfight inside Building 12, related to the movements and actions of defendant Scott Peterson outside the building.’
The deputy has long insisted he did not hear the gunshots coming from inside the school, a claim disputed by the plaintiffs.
‘The motive we set out in our motion is that contrary to Peterson’s claim, he could and did hear the gunshots and he could actually make out where they were coming from,’ said plaintiffs’ attorney David Brill.
Peterson’s attorney, Michael Piper, said his client and counsel may also consider seeking a retrial of their own.
If they decide to conduct a retrial of their own, he said, they will work with the plaintiffs to ensure it is done on the same day or back-to-back.
The lawyer apparently spoke of the family’s motivation for requesting a reconsideration so quickly after his client was acquitted.
‘It’s not accidental,’ said Piper. ‘Peterson just finished a criminal trial.’
Shooting survivor Madeleine Woodford (pictured) is one of the plaintiffs in the civil suit
The families of Alaina Petty (left) and Luke Hoare (right) are involved in the case
The parents of Meadow Pollack (left) and Alex Schacher (right) are also suing
‘This rescheduling, if it is to happen, will be within the next month,’ Broward Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips (pictured) said in court Wednesday.
Last month, the deputy pleaded not guilty to child neglect.
According to local reports, Phillips warned both parties not to mention the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the criminal case against Peterson.
Criminal trials require a different burden of proof than civil trials.
Linda Beigel Shulman, mother of victim Scott Beigel, said she is anxious to see the outcome of the criminal trial and is waiting for answers.
‘Civil justice is coming and I want justice. And if it’s going to be a reenactment of the murder, it’s going to be a reenactment,’ Beigel Shulman told 10 News.
‘We need justice. And I apologize for, you know, what it might do to some people in the community,’ he continued.
Piper expressed her own concern that a redistricting could evoke emotional reactions from community members who were traumatized.
But the bottom line is, I think we all deserve justice. And the only way we’re going to get it is to have feedback, feedback, just the way we were. Today we have been given that right,’ said the mother.
The cost of rescheduling will be shared by both parties.
Next steps will be outlined at the July 20 hearing
In late June, Peterson, 60, was found not guilty in a criminal trial against him on 11 charges, including child neglect. Peterson escaped safely during the shooting
After Peterson was acquitted for not taking action in the Parkland mass shooting, the 1200 Marjory Stoneman Douglas building will be demolished.
Parkland School Shooting Victims: Top Row LR: Jaime Guttenberg, Nicholas Douret, Martin Duke, Meadow Pollack, Cara Loughran – Second Row LR: Alyssa Alhadeff, Luke Hoare, Joaquin Oliver, Gina Montalto – Third Row Patina LR, Carla Schentrup, Peter Wang, Alex Schacher — Fourth Row L-R: Helena Ramsey, Scott Beigel, Aaron Feis, Chris Hixon
After Peterson was acquitted in late June, the deputy said that the not guilty was tantamount to him ‘getting his life back’.
‘Because of Mark we got our lives back after four and a half, five and a half years [Eiglarsh] And being able to extract the truth from what happened,’ he said.
Peterson added that ‘the only person guilty was that monster,’ referring to Cruise, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2022.
One of the victim’s fathers said Peterson should be ‘ghosted’ for his ‘failure to act’.
Around the same time Peterson was acquitted, it was announced that the building where the horrific shooting took place would be demolished.
The 1200 building — which has stood for five years with a fence surrounding it since that fateful day — is slated to be demolished sometime this summer.
It was initially reported that the demolition would take place in July.
It’s unclear how the rescheduling might affect that timeline.
Parkland Mayor Rich Walker said, ‘The people of the city are certainly looking forward to its removal.