Fort Lauderdale, Florida. – Nikolas Cruz will plead guilty to 17 single murders on Wednesday in a 2018 shooting slaughter in a high school in Florida. His lawyer is focused on saving him from the death penalty.
23-year-old Cruz appears in front of Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scheller. Elizabeth Scheller asks him a list of long questions to assess his mental abilities. Scheller then asks one by one how to sue 17 cases of one attempted murder for the injured for each murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
His lawyer announced his intention to plead guilty at a hearing last week.
Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime died in a shooting, said she had visited her grave to ask her for the power to pass the hearing this Wednesday.
“She was the toughest and smartest person I’ve ever known. My daughter always fought for the right thing. My daughter looked down on bullying and was in the middle of the person being bullied. I put myself in and stopped it. “
Plea guilty sets the stage for a penalty trial that determines whether 12 juries should be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without parole. Given the infamy of the case, Scheller plans to screen out thousands of jury candidates. The hearing is scheduled from November to December and the goal is to begin the testimony in January.
According to investigators, Cruz rampaged a three-story building in Stoneman Douglas for seven minutes on Valentine’s Day 2018, killing 14 students and three staff. They said he shot the victim in the hallways and classrooms with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Cruz was banished from Stoneman Douglas a year ago after a history of threatening, horrifying, anomalous, and sometimes violent behavior dating back to preschool.
Due to the shooting, some of the Stoneman Douglas students started the March for Hour Lifes movement. This promotes nationwide tightening of gun restrictions.
A few days after the shooting, Cruz’s lawyer offered to plead guilty in exchange for life imprisonment, saying it would save the community the emotional confusion of resurrecting the attack in court. However, long-time Broward state prosecutor Mike Sats rejected the offer, saying Cruz deserved the death penalty, and appointed himself as chief prosecutor. Sats, 79, resigned as a state lawyer in January 44 years later, but remains the chief prosecutor of Cruz.
His successor, Harold Pryor, opposes the death penalty, but said he would obey the law. Like Sats, he never accepted the offer of defense — even in the liberal Broward County, where Democrats outnumbered Republicans by more than 2: 1 as elected officials, it was difficult.
By convicting Cruz, his lawyer can claim that he was responsible for his actions during the penalty trial.
Will Weissert, an Associated Press reporter in Washington, DC, contributed to this report.
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Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to Parkland massacre
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