Nikolas Cruz Parkland School Shooter To Plead Guilty
Nikolas Cruz is set to plead guilty to seventeen counts of murder that took place during the Parkland School shooting in Florida in 2018. According to his lawyers Nikolas Cruz who was nineteen years old at the time of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School which left fourteen students and three adults dead will plead guilty and the only thing remains is the punishment phase which will be either life in prison without parole or the death penalty
Nikolas Cruz who on Friday October 15 plead guilty to an assault on a correctional guard has offered to plead guilty to the seventeen counts of murder in the past however for whatever the reason prosecutors wanted him to go to trial. I imagine the main focus on the punishment phase is going to be the teen killers mental health history
-October 2022 – Nikolas Cruz sentenced to life in prison
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The gunman accused of killing 14 students and three members of staff at a high school in Florida back in 2018 will plead guilty to their murders, his lawyers have said.
The guilty plea by Nikolas Cruz will set up a penalty phase in which he would be fighting against the death penalty and hoping for life without parole.
The now 23-year-old is accused of 17 counts of first-degree murder, 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder and attacking a jail guard nine months after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
His lawyers have said he will plead guilty to all of the offences.
The pleas will come with no conditions and prosecutors still plan to seek the death penalty – but this will be decided by a jury and the trial has not yet been scheduled.Advertisement
Nikolas Cruz and his lawyers have long offered to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence but prosecutors have repeatedly rejected the deal, saying the case deserves a death sentence.
The shooting shook Parkland, an upper-middle-class community outside Fort Lauderdale with little crime, back in 2018.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a campus of 3,200 students, is one of the top-ranked public schools in the state, and Nikolas Cruz had been a long-time troubled student there.
Since pre-school, he had been treated for emotional problems and was known by neighbours for torturing animals.
He alternated between traditional schools and those for troubled students, joining the successful high school from the 10th grade.
But his troubles remained, and he was expelled about a year before the attack after numerous incidents of unusual behaviour and at least one fight.
He began posting pictures online of himself with guns and made videos threatening to commit violence, including at the school.
It was around this time he purchased the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle he would use in the shooting.
When Cruz’s mother died of pneumonia in November 2017, leaving him and his brother orphaned, he began staying with friends taking his 10 guns with him.
Someone worried about his emotional state, called the FBI a month before the shooting to warn agents he might kill people – but this information was never forwarded to the agency’s South Florida office.
In the weeks before the shooting, Nikolas Cruz began making videos saying he was going to be the “next school shooter of 2018” and in one shortly before the massacre, he said: “Today is the day. Today it all begins. The day of my massacre shall begin.”
The shooting happened on Valentine’s Day, minutes before the end of the school day.
Cruz, who was 19 at the time, arrived at the campus that afternoon in an Uber, assembled his rifle in a bathroom and then opened fire at students and staff.
The shooting sparked huge campaigns across the US for changes to be made to gun laws.
Nikolas Cruz trial has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and arguments between the prosecution and defence over what evidence and testimony should be presented to the jury.
Some victims’ families had expressed frustration over the delays but the president of the group they formed expressed relief that the case now seems closer to resolution.
“We just hope the system gives him justice,” said Tony Montalto, of Stand With Parkland. His 14-year-old daughter, Gina, died in the shooting.
Preparations were being made to begin jury selection within the next few months, with the decision by Cruz and his attorneys to plead guilty arriving unexpectedly.
Nikolas Cruz had been set to go on trial next week for the attack on the Boward County jail guard
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Nikolas Cruz was sentenced to life in prison
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A jury has recommended that the shooter who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., be sentenced to life in prison.
Nikolas Cruz, 24, pleaded guilty last year to 17 charges of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. The question facing jurors now was whether Cruz would spend the rest of his life in prison or be sentenced to death.
Cruz carried out the massacre on Valentine’s Day in 2018. He was 19 at the time, and had been expelled from the school. He entered a school building through an unlocked side door and used an AR-15-style rifle to kill 14 students and three staff members, as well as wound 17 others.
Jurors began deliberations on Wednesday. Late that day, the jury asked to see the murder weapon. On Thursday morning, the jury said it had come to a recommendation on a sentence, about 15 minutes after the jurors were able to examine the weapon, according to The Associated Press.
Prosecutors had pushed for the death sentence. In closing arguments Tuesday, lead prosecutor Mike Satz told jurors that Cruz had hunted his victims during his siege of the school, returning to some of those he’d wounded to shoot them again, and kill them.
“This plan was goal directed, it was calculated, it was purposeful and it was a systematic massacre,” Satz said.
NPR’s Greg Allen has been covering the trial in Fort Lauderdale.
“Over the trial’s six months, jurors heard students and teachers who survived the shooting describe the attack. They heard graphic testimony from medical examiners and viewed surveillance videos showing Cruz firing into classrooms and hallways, shooting some victims repeatedly,” Allen reported.
In laying out their defense, lawyers for Cruz presented testimony from counselors and a doctor who say the defendant suffers from a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, a condition that they argued affects his reasoning and behavior. Witnesses testified that his birth mother, Brenda Woodard, had abused alcohol and cocaine while she was pregnant with him.
“You now know that Nikolas is a brain-damaged, broken, mentally-ill person, through no fault of his own,” Cruz’s lawyer, Melissa McNeil, stated in closing arguments. “He was literally poisoned in Brenda’s womb.”
For Cruz to receive the death penalty, the sentence needed to be agreed upon by all 12 jurors.
Cruz’s rampage is the deadliest mass shooting to go to trial in the U.S., according to The Associated Press. In other attacks in which 17 or more people were killed, the shooter was either killed by police or died by suicide. Still awaiting trial is the suspect in the 2019 shooting of 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
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