The South Florida Sun Sentinel said a jury was right when it recommended a life sentence for killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland.
And the newspaper called on lawmakers to abolish the death penalty.
The Sentinel is based in Broward County where the high school is located. It made its comments in an editorial posted Thursday.
The editorial came despite outrage from some relatives of the victims that the jury did not recommend the death penalty for convicted shooter Nikolas Cruz. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called the jury's decision "a miscarriage of justice."
The paper noted Chief Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill had told jurors before deliberations began that "in a civilized society, do we kill brain-damaged, mentally ill, broken people?"
The newspaper pointed out that the jury, in its recommendations, said "no."
The Sentinel added: "Painful as it is, it was the right answer.
"It surely does not seem so to the families of Nikolas Cruz's 17 victims, whose grief is without end. Their suffering deserves our sympathy and respect.
'But a death sentence for Cruz would only have prolonged their search for closure. The four-plus years it took to get the Parkland massacre to trial would have been a prelude to many more years, if not decades, of appeals, with an uncertain outcome.
"Instead, it's over but for a formal sentencing hearing scheduled for Nov. 1. That will be 17 consecutive life sentences without parole added to the 17 he's already serving for the victims who survived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.
"This could have been the outcome from the outset. But the prosecution rejected the defense's proposed plea bargain offers that began two days after the killings."
The Sentinel also called for the death penalty to be abolished.
"None of America's death penalty jurisdictions can get it right," the paper said. "The only solution is to abolish it.
"To have condemned Cruz to death would not necessarily deter another mass murderer. They rarely survive a police response or kill themselves. Cruz, who was 19 when he legally bought his assault weapon in Coral Springs, is a rare exception."
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