Cruz, 23, entered his pleas in a courtroom attended by a dozen kinfolk of victims after answering a protracted record of questions from Circuit Choose Elizabeth Scherer geared toward confirming his psychological competency. He was charged with 17 counts of homicide and 17 counts of tried first-degree homicide for these wounded within the Feb. 14, 2018, assault at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty in Parkland, positioned simply exterior Fort Lauderdale.
A penalty trial will decide if Cruz will obtain a sentence of loss of life or life in jail with out parole. Scherer plans to start screening jurors subsequent month in hopes testimony can start in January.
His attorneys introduced his intention to plead responsible throughout a listening to final week.
Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime died within the capturing, mentioned he visited her grave this week to ask her for the power to get via Wednesday’s listening to.
“She was the hardest, wisest individual I ever knew,” he mentioned. “My daughter at all times fought for what was proper. My daughter despised bullies and would put herself in the course of somebody being bullied to make it cease.”
The responsible pleas will set the stage for a penalty trial by which 12 jurors will decide whether or not Cruz ought to be sentenced to loss of life or life in jail with out parole. Given the case’s notoriety, Scherer plans to display 1000’s of potential jurors. Hearings are scheduled all through November and December, with a aim to begin testimony in January.
Colleges in Florida county keep in mind Parkland capturing victims with group service
Cruz killed the 14 college students and three employees members on Valentine’s Day 2018 throughout a seven-minute rampage via a three-story constructing at Stoneman Douglas, investigators mentioned. They mentioned he shot victims within the hallways and in lecture rooms with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. Cruz had been expelled from Stoneman Douglas a 12 months earlier after a historical past of threatening, horrifying, uncommon and generally violent habits that dated again to preschool.
The shootings triggered some Stoneman Douglas college students to launch the March for Our Lives motion, which pushes for stronger gun restrictions nationally.
Since days after the capturing, Cruz’s attorneys had provided to have him plead responsible in alternate for a life sentence, saying that will spare the group the emotional turmoil of reliving the assault at trial. However longtime Broward State Legal professional Mike Satz rejected the supply, saying Cruz deserved a loss of life sentence, and appointed himself lead prosecutor. Satz, 79, stepped down as state legal professional in January after 44 years, however stays Cruz’s chief prosecutor.
His successor, Harold Pryor, is against the loss of life penalty however has mentioned he’ll observe the regulation. Like Satz, he by no means accepted the protection supply — as an elected official, that will have been troublesome, even in liberal Broward County, the place Democrats outnumber Republicans by greater than 2 to 1.
By having Cruz plead responsible, his attorneys will have the ability to argue in the course of the penalty listening to that he took duty for his actions.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
https://globalnews.ca/information/8283225/parkland-school-shooter-pleads-guilty/ | Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz pleads responsible in bloodbath that left 17 useless – Nationwide