For hours, parents, wives, siblings, children and some of the 17 Cruz also wounded stood 20ft from him. They looked the shackled killer in the eye and gave vehement, angry and sometimes tearful statements.
Most decried that his jury voted 9-3 for death but did not reach the unanimity required under state law for that sentence to be imposed.
Cruz, 24, stared back, dressed in a bright red jail jumpsuit, showing no emotion behind a face mask. The two-day hearing will conclude on Wednesday when the judge, Elizabeth Scherer, formally sentences Cruz to life without parole.
“This creature has no redeemable value,” said Max Schachter, whose 14-year-old son Alex died when he was shot through a classroom window.
Speaking at Cruz but refusing to say his name, Schachter said he hoped “other prisoners you will encounter in your new life will inflict that pain upon you, hopefully 17 times over again, until you are screaming for mercy, just like your victims”.
Schachter said it was his birthday and that when he blew out his candles he would wish Cruz a painful death – and would every year until it happens.