Nikolas Cruz to plead guilty in the Parkland massacre

Nikolas Cruz will plead guilty Wednesday to 17 counts first-degree murder in the Florida shooting massacre. His attorneys now focus on saving him from death.

Nikolas Cruz to plead guilty in the Parkland massacre

Cruz, 23 years old, will be appearing before Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer. She will ask a long list of questions to assess his mental competence. Scherer will ask him individually how he pleads for each murder at Marjory Stoneman Doug High School, and the 17 counts of attempted second-degree murder for those who suffered injuries.

He was announced by his attorneys that he would plead guilty at a hearing last week.

Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jaime Guttenberg, 14, who was killed in the shooting, stated that he visited Jaime's grave this week to pray for strength and to make it through Wednesday's hearing.

He said, "She was one of the most toughest and wisest people I knew." "My daughter was always fighting for the right. My daughter hated bullies and would do anything to stop bullying.

After the guilty pleas, a penalty trial will be held in which 12 jurors will decide whether Cruz should die or remain in prison without parole. Scherer will screen thousands of potential jurors due to the case's fame. The hearings will take place in November and December with the goal of starting testimony in January.

Investigators stated that Cruz shot and killed 14 students and three staff members during a seven-minute rampage through Stoneman Douglas' three-story building. Investigators said Cruz shot the victims in the hallways as well as in classrooms using an AR-15 semiautomatic gun. Cruz was expelled from Stoneman Doug a year prior due to threatening, frightening and sometimes violent behavior dating back to preschool.

Stoneman Douglas students were among those who started the March for Our Lives movement to push for tighter gun control in their country.

Cruz's lawyers offered to plead guilty in return for a life sentence. This would have spared the community from the emotional trauma of having to relive the attack at trial. Mike Satz, a long-serving Broward State Attorney, rejected the offer and said Cruz deserved a life sentence. He was appointed lead prosecutor. After 44 years of service, Satz, now 79, was elected as the state attorney. However, Cruz remains his chief prosecutor.

Harold Pryor is his successor and he opposes the death penalty, but has stated that he will adhere to the law. He refused to accept the defense offer, just like Satz. This would have been very difficult for him as an elected official in liberal Broward County where Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than 2: 1.

His attorneys will be able argue that Cruz took responsibility for his actions by having him plead guilty.

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