Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz sits at the defense table as a motion is discussed to delay the start of his trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., on October 4, 2021, on four criminal counts stemming from his alleged attack on a Broward jail guard in November 2018.  Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Pool via REUTERS

Florida school gunman Cruz to plead guilty to murder, lawyer says

Oct 15 (Reuters) – Nikolas Cruz will plead guilty to homicide within the 2018 mass capturing that killed 17 college students and employees at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive School in Parkland, Florida, his lawyer informed a choose on Friday.

Cruz’s legal professional informed a choose his shopper will plead guilty subsequent week to all fees in what was the deadliest U.S. excessive school capturing. He confronted 17 counts of premeditated homicide and 17 counts of tried homicide.

Broward Circuit Choose Elizabeth Scherer famous Cruz, now 23, may change his thoughts earlier than his plea listening to, which she agreed to set for 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

Cruz was 19 and an expelled pupil on the time of the Feb. 14, 2018 mass homicide.

Prosecutors on the Broward State’s Lawyer Workplace have stated they are going to search the loss of life penalty for Cruz, noting in courtroom paperwork that the capturing involving an AR-15 rifle was “cold, calculated and premeditated.”

Even when Cruz pleads guilty to the fees and avoids a prison trial, he would face a penalty part by which a jury would resolve whether or not he must be sentenced to life in jail or loss of life, stated Paula McMahon, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s workplace.

In Florida, juries decide whether or not to impose a loss of life sentence. So if prosecutors will not be prepared to drop the loss of life penalty as a part of any plea deal which may be struck with Cruz, then a jury would resolve.

“There have been no plea negotiations with the prosecution. If he pleads guilty, there would still be a penalty phase,” McMahon informed Reuters in an electronic mail.

In a separate prison case heard by the choose on Friday, Cruz pleaded guilty to all 4 fees of assault and battery on a regulation enforcement officer stemming from a jail assault on Broward County Sheriff’s Sergeant Raymond Beltran in November 2018. Earlier than accepting his plea, she requested him if he understood the influence the assault case may have within the homicide case.

“Sir, I need to advise you that the state is going to be using this conviction in this case as evidence of an aggravating factor for purposes of arguing in favor of the death penalty. Do you understand that?” Choose Scherer requested Cruz.

“Yes, Ma’am,” answered Cruz, who stood subsequent to his lawyer after officers introduced him to the courtroom from a holding space. Cruz, who wore a blue face masks, a navy blue sweater, white collared shirt and ivory pants, spoke in a powerful, clear voice.

The choose deferred sentencing within the assault case, by which Cruz was accused of kicking, hitting and punching the officer in addition to making an attempt to take away his Taser to hit him within the head.

Among the households of the 14 college students and three employees killed and 17 others injured when the troubled former pupil opened hearth have rallied to name for gun management.

But a report by a state-appointed fee on the capturing really helpful arming lecturers, spending extra on school safety and psychological well being and coaching police to be extra aggressive when responding to school shootings.

Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York, Enhancing by Franklin Paul and David Gregorio

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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