Although the Parkland school gunman intends to plead guilty, he may still face the death penalty for the deaths of 17 people.


Although the Parkland school gunman intends to plead guilty, he may still face the death penalty for the deaths of 17 people.

On Friday, Cruz’s attorneys informed Broward County Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Scherer that their client will file a guilty plea next Wednesday. In connection with the bloodiest high school massacre in US history, Cruz will plead guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder.

Cruz’s admission of guilt will not come with any concessions from prosecutors, who are still seeking the death penalty against him, unlike typical plea agreements in the US court system. A jury will decide whether Cruz should be sentenced to death or to life in prison without the possibility of release during the sentencing phase of the case.

Cruz pled guilty to four counts in connection with his assault on a jail guard in November 2018, nine months after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. His attorneys have long proposed a guilty plea to the murder charges in exchange for a life sentence, but prosecutors have insisted on the death penalty.

Cruz, who appeared pale and emaciated, wore glasses, a mask, khaki pants, and a sweater to the hearing on Friday. As the judge questioned him about his competency and comprehension of the crimes he was pleading guilty to, he responded with “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am.”

The case has been waiting for more than three and a half years, owing to delays caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, as well as disagreements about the use of evidence and language during his trial. For example, Scherer decided last month that while Cruz cannot be referred to as a “beast” or “that thing,” prosecutors can refer to him as a “school shooter,” “killer,” or “murderer.”

March for Our Lives, a gun reform organization created by student activists, was born out of the Parkland shooting, which also left 17 people injured. While much of the focus of the response to the tragedy has been on pushing for stricter gun regulations, little has been done to address law enforcement and school authorities’ failings to prevent the deaths.

For example, after his mother died in November 2017, the FBI and Broward County Sheriff’s Department failed to investigate reports about Cruz’s emotional health. Scot Peterson, the school’s resource officer at the time, is accused of hiding behind a wall after the shooting began rather than entering the building and confronting the perpetrator.

Cruz’s disciplinary issues at Marjory Stoneman Douglas were so serious that he was expelled at one point. News from Brinkwire in a nutshell. Search the internet for further information.


Comments are closed.