Cruz to plead guilty to all charges in Parkland school massacre, attorney says

On Friday Nikolas Cruz, the gunman who shot and killed 14 students and three staff members will plead guilty, according to his attorney. The murders took place more than three years ago on February 14, 2018. The guilty plea could finally bring some closure to the South Florida community, which had started a nationwide gun control movement, after the horrific massacre.

As he has put in a guilty plea, there will be a penalty phase where the now 23-year old Cruz would fight against the death penalty and hope for life without parole.

David Wheeler, who is Cruz’ attorney, told Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that his client will plead guilty to 17 counts of first degree murder in the February 2018 shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

There are no conditions attached to the plea. Prosecutors have said that they will continue to seek the death penalty. The sentence will be decided by a jury. The judge hopes to start the trial in January. Jury selection is expected to begin in November.

Cruz will also plead guilty to 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder. Although Cruz was not present during the hearing, he arrived at the Broward County courtroom later and pleaded guilty to the charge of attacking a jail guard. This incident had taken place nine months after the mass shooting.

When the judge asked him questions, he answered them in a steady voice. He said that he understood that the conviction could be used by the prosecutors as an aggravating factor, as they would fight for the death penalty.

Some of the parents whose children were killed by him were relieved to hear the guilty plea finally but at least a couple of them wanted the death penalty to be given to him. All twelve jurors have to vote unanimously for Cruz’ execution to take place in future and his team is hoping to persuade at least one of them to vote for life without parole.

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