Nikolas Cruz set to plead guilty in Parkland shooting: Report
FORT LAUDERDALE (Fla.) — Police have set Friday’s court hearing in Florida for Nikolas CRUZ, who police claim confessed to the 2018 murder of 17 students at a suburban high-school.
The hearing at Broward County Circuit Court was set abruptly on Thursday. It does not explain the purpose. WSVN-TV reported that Cruz would plead guilty to all 17 murder charges against him, but did not cite sources. Cruz’s lawyers did not return calls, texts or emails from The Associated Press.
According to the report,
Cruz would also plead guilty 17 to attempted murder at Marjory stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. According to court records, Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer will be hearing the case. There was no set trial date.
Cruz will still be tried by a jury to decide whether he is sentenced to death or life imprisonment, according the report. Cruz is a murderer, and the prosecution has always maintained that Cruz should be executed.
The Broward County State Attorney’s Office issued a statement Thursday night stating that Cruz’s lawyers would need to comment on any guilty plea.
” We have to refer all your questions to defense,” stated the statement of the state attorney. “There have not been any plea negotiations with prosecution. He could plead guilty but there would be a penalty phase
Preparations continue for the largest murder trial in Broward County’s history and the most notorious crime in Florida.
Cruz 23, was taken into custody shortly after the attack on Valentine’s Day 2018. with an AR -15 semiautomatic gun.
His lawyers repeatedly offered to plead guilty to a sentence of life imprisonment in exchange for a guarantee, but the prosecutors refused to give up their pursuit of death penalty. A guilty plea would avoid a long and traumatic trial but still allow Cruz’s fate to be decided by a jury.
Much of the penalty phase will likely be focused on Cruz’s mental state at the time of his slayings. Prosecutors would emphasize their horrifying nature and Cruz’s meticulous planning.
Tony Montalto is the president of Stand With Parkland, which represents victims’ families. He said that neither he nor any parents he had spoken to were informed Cruz would plead guilty. However, he was not surprised. Montalto’s 14-year-old daughter died in the shooting.
“It is not difficult to believe that he killed Gina, my daughter, and the 16 other victim. It is not difficult to believe that he killed the other 17 students and terrorized the school’s other students. Montalto stated that we just hope the system will give him justice.
When Montalto was asked if he thinks Cruz should be executed, Montalto replied, “As society, we must disincentivize as much as possible anyone from attacking schools, in whatever form it takes .”
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