FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Attorneys for the self-confessed Parkland school shooter will plead guilty to murder in the 2018 mass shooting that killed 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“To me, this person has always been guilty,” said Manny Oliver, whose son Joaquin was one of the 17 killed. He doesn’t plan on being present at the plea. “No decision from the court, no deal will in any way be close to bringing our son back, for those magic moments, an amazing 17 years.”READ MORE: 23rd Annual 'A Home For The Holidays At The Grove' Comes To CBS On Sunday, December 5th
Oliver said his focus is on their non-profit organization
“We try to save lives. I can’t wait for this part of the tragedy to get away, so we can all move on,” said Oliver.
Track coach Scott Beigel would’ve turned 39 next week.
“He could’ve entered this plea 1300 days ago and instead, it’s being taken today, which is 3 and a half years later. It doesn’t change anything right now,” said Linda Beigel Schulman, Biegel’s mother. “In 7 days, I should be celebrating Scott’s birthday.”
Instead, Biegel Schulman is organizing another run in her son’s memory.
Both families bonded through this tragedy and a common goal: to put an end to gun violence.
“I believe we need to start children at a young age, keeping them away from guns,” said Biegel Schulman. “Keeping them away from the gun epidemic.”
“I don’t have any reason to think schools are safer,” said Oliver. “School shootings are becoming part of our norm and we move on.”
Oliver, Biegel Schulman, and the other families not focused on the hearing, but instead, focused on turning their pain into purpose.
“People like me are desperate to share our message and our misery and our bad luck with you guys, with the lucky ones that still enjoy their kids,” said Oliver. “So you become a part of a solution, before it hits you.”
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I have received messages today asking me to comment on the breaking murder trial news. My only comment is to remember the victims. Remember Jaime. Rather than talk about the murderer, please join us on Oct 23rd to celebrate Jaime's life by signing up at https://t.co/nNPMmsRd7R pic.twitter.com/gFuWctxzp2
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) October 15, 2021
Many of the families who lost loved ones in the massacre watched Friday’s Cruz proceedings on television.
“Since February 14th, nothing has been easy,” said Lori Alhadeff whose 14 year old daughter Alyssa was killed in the massacre.
Watch: CBS4’s Joan Murray’s report
“Losing Alyssa in this traumatic way is very painful but we need to get through it to have the execution of the shooter,” she said.
Alhadeff supports the death penalty and said she is unsure whether she will attend Wednesday’s hearing. The judge is giving Parkland families the option of speaking at the hearing on Wednesday.
Lori Alhadeff is currently a Broward school board member. She has dedicated her life to improving school safety. Alhadeff worked to have Alyssa’s law passed and implemented.
Teachers and students can get an APP that is a silent alarm to alert law enforcement when there is an emergency.
“I’m trying to fix what went wrong and hopefully one day I will save a life,” she said.
Fellow school board member Debbi Hixon whose husband Chris, the athletic director at MSD, was also killed in the massacre, plans to be at the hearing on Wednesday.
“It’s about being there and showing everyone what we lost. And to honor their memory. And to let everyone know it doesn’t get better” said Hixon fighting back tears.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime also died in the shooting, tweeted, “I have received messages today asking me to comment on the breaking murder trial news. My only comment is to remember the victims. Remember Jaime. Rather than talk about the murderer, please join us on Oct 23rd to celebrate Jaime’s life by signing up at orangeribbonsdance.comMORE NEWS: Florida Panthers Find Ways To Rally Again, Top Blues 4-3 In Shootout
The President of the Broward Teachers Union Anna Fusco released a statement that read, “I am relieved and happy that the gunman in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting will plead guilty on all counts. He needs to take responsibility for the massacre that killed 17 precious lives and injured 17 others. Their families’ lives will never be the same and neither will this community. Although nothing and no one can ever make up for the loss of 17 lives, this is a step toward justice for the families and our school community.”