Nikolas Cruz Reportedly Seeks to Resurrect Plea Talks, But Jurors Will Likely Still Decide His Punishment in Parkland Shooting
If a guilty plea is indeed filed, the high-profile case will skip the guilt portion and proceed immediately to the penalty phase. The post Nikolas Cruz Reportedly Seeks to Resurrect Plea Talks, But Jurors Will Likely Still Decide His Punishment in Parkland Shooting first appeared on Law & Crime.The alleged perpetrator of the Parkland school massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High reportedly wants to try to plead guilty on Friday.
© Provided by Law & Crime Nikolas Cruz
The 23-year-old behind the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school in 2018 has finally pleaded guilty to charges. The defense of Nikolas Cruz has never disputed that he opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 people, but Cruz’s lawyers must still contend with prosecutors in the penalty phase.
Cruz admitted to 17 counts of first-degree murder despite not having a plea agreement with the prosecution. The only possible punishment for that crime in Florida is either the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Given the nature of this case, the state has not budged on capital punishment.
Parkland Shooter Nikolas Cruz May Still Get Death Sentence Despite Expected Guilty Plea
Nikolas Cruz confessed in August of 2018 to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The Broward County Public Defender's Office did not confirm or deny that Cruz would plead guilty on Thursday. Cruz could still be sentenced to death for the shootings despite a guilty plea. While WSVN-7's report did not mention a source for the information, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel later reported it had confirmed the story, citing sources. Cruz is also expected to plead guilty in a separate case involving a jailhouse assault. A trial on that matter was due to start next week.
“There have been no plea negotiations with the prosecution,” said the Broward State Attorney’s Office said in a statement to Law&Crime last Friday. “If he pleads guilty, there would still be a penalty phase.”
Cruz also pleaded guilty to 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder.
On Friday, Cruz pleaded guilty to battery charges stemming from an attack on a jail guard, but Judge Elizabeth Scherer held off on sentencing. She told Cruz that the convictions on the felony charges would be aggravating factors in his penalty phase if he pleaded guilty in the Parkland shooting.
Nikolas Cruz to plead guilty to Parkland school massacre, lawyer says
Cruz's attorney said he will change his plea to guilty on Wednesday, accepting responsibility for the Parkland massacre.Video evidence showed Cruz attacking Sergeant Raymond Beltran on November 13, 2018 while in Broward Sheriff's Office Main Jail. Cruz can be seen hitting, punching and kicking Beltran, before removing the officer's taser and trying to use it as a blunt instrument, according to the prosecution. It took correction officers two minutes to respond to the fight and remove Cruz.
A former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Cruz opened fire on Feb. 14, 2018 using an AR-15 rifle. Officials soon arrested him, and he admitted guilt in a videotaped confession but blamed his actions and violent ideations on a voice in his head. He called it the “Demon.”
“Personally, I think you’re using the demon as an excuse,” said Broward County Sheriff’s Detective John Curcio.
Cruz killed 17 people in the Parkland shooting: 14-year-old student Alyssa Alhadeff, 35-year-old teacher Scott Beigel, 14-year-old student Martin Duque Anguiano, 17-year-old student Nicholas Dworet, 37-year-old assistant football coach Aaron Feis, 14-year-old student Jaime Guttenberg, 49-year-old athletic director Christopher Hixon, 15-year-old student Luke Hoyer, 14-year-old student Cara Loughran, 14-year-old student Gina Montalto, 17-year-old student Joaquin Oliver, 14-year-old student Alaina Petty, 18-year-old student Meadow Pollack, 17-year-old student Helena Ramsay, 14-year-old student Alexander Schachter, 16-year-old student Carmen Schentrup, and 15-year-old student Peter Wang.
[Image via Law&Crime Network]
The post Nikolas Cruz Pleads Guilty to Parkland Mass Shooting, Paving Way for Penalty Phase Battle first appeared on Law & Crime.
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