By Associated Press
October 20, 2021
He is accused of sidesplitting 17 radical — astir of them students — astatine Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School successful Florida.
Nikolas Cruz is scheduled to plead blameworthy to 17 counts of first-degree execution Wednesday for the 2018 shooting massacre astatine a Florida precocious school, arsenic his attorneys crook their absorption to redeeming him from a decease sentence.
Cruz, 23, volition look earlier Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer, who volition inquire him a lengthy database of questions to gauge his intelligence competency. Scherer volition past inquire him 1 by 1 however helium pleads to each sidesplitting astatine Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and to the 17 counts of attempted first-degree execution for those who were wounded.
His attorneys announced his volition to plead blameworthy during a proceeding past week.
Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old girl Jaime died successful the shooting, said helium visited her sedate this week to inquire her for the spot to get done Wednesday's hearing.
"She was the toughest, wisest idiosyncratic I ever knew," helium said. "My girl ever fought for what was right. My girl despised bullies and would enactment herself successful the mediate of idiosyncratic being bullied to marque it stop."
The blameworthy pleas volition acceptable the signifier for a punishment proceedings successful which 12 jurors volition find whether Cruz should beryllium sentenced to decease oregon beingness successful situation without parole. Given the case's notoriety, Scherer plans to surface thousands of prospective jurors. Hearings are scheduled passim November and December, with a extremity to commencement grounds successful January.
Cruz killed the 14 students and 3 unit members connected Valentine's Day 2018 during a seven-minute rampage done a three-story gathering astatine Stoneman Douglas, investigators said. They said helium changeable victims successful the hallways and successful classrooms with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. Cruz had been expelled from Stoneman Douglas a twelvemonth earlier aft a past of threatening, frightening, antithetic and sometimes convulsive behaviour that dated backmost to preschool.
The shootings caused immoderate Stoneman Douglas students to motorboat the March for Our Lives movement, which pushes for stronger weapon restrictions nationally.
Since days aft the shooting, Cruz's attorneys had offered to person him plead blameworthy successful speech for a beingness sentence, saying that would spare the assemblage the affectional turmoil of reliving the onslaught astatine trial. But longtime Broward State Attorney Mike Satz rejected the offer, saying Cruz deserved a decease sentence, and appointed himself pb prosecutor. Satz, 79, stepped down arsenic authorities lawyer successful January aft 44 years, but remains Cruz's main prosecutor.
His successor, Harold Pryor, is opposed to the decease punishment but has said helium volition travel the law. Like Satz, helium ne'er accepted the defence connection — arsenic an elected official, that would person been difficult, adjacent successful wide Broward County, wherever Democrats outnumber Republicans by much than 2 to 1.
By having Cruz plead guilty, his attorneys volition beryllium capable to reason during the punishment proceeding that helium took work for his actions.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.