Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Florida prosecutors will seek death penalty for Parkland high school shooter

Florida prosecutors will seek death penalty for Parkland high school shooter

A Florida prosecutor said Tuesday that he would seek the death penalty against the man accused of killing 17 people last month at a high school in Parkland, moving the state closer to a rare trial for someone charged in a mass shooting.

Michael Satz, the state attorney for Broward County, has filed a notice with Judge Elizabeth Scherer of his office's intent to seek the death sentence, ahead of a court hearing on Wednesday.

Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting.

Seventeen people were killed and several others were injured after Cruz allegedly opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month.

The action by prosecutors on Tuesday does not necessarily mean a plea deal will not be reached.

The decision to seek the death penalty against Nikolas Cruz, 19, was widely expected, in part because Mr. Satz had hinted at his plans days after the attack. Finkelstein said Tuesday that the prosecutor's announcement was not unexpected, but again repeated that his team was ready to have Cruz plead guilty on all counts in exchange for 34 consecutive life sentences without parole.

Finkelstein's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Cruz's attorneys withdrew his not guilty plea on Friday, and Cruz now "stands mute" to the charges.

The shooting has sparked a fierce national debate over gun rights, with numerous student survivors vowing to push for gun control regulations so that the shooting they lived through might be the last.

The boy's intestinal area has been sealed off and he is breathing on his own after being taken off a ventilator, family attorney Alex Arreaza said.

He has been held in the Broward County Jail without bond since the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland.

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