and Associated Press
October 15, 2021
Lawyers for the antheral charged successful a precocious schoolhouse shooting massacre said helium volition plead blameworthy alternatively than going to trial.
The gunman who killed 14 students and 3 unit members astatine a Parkland, Florida, precocious schoolhouse volition plead blameworthy to their murders, his attorneys said Friday, bringing immoderate closure to a South Florida assemblage much than 3 years aft an onslaught that sparked a nationwide question for weapon control.
The blameworthy plea would acceptable up a punishment signifier wherever Nikolas Cruz, 23, would beryllium warring against the decease punishment and hoping for beingness without parole.
Cruz lawyer David Wheeler told Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that helium volition plead blameworthy Wednesday to 17 counts of first-degree execution successful the February 2018 shooting astatine Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The pleas volition travel with nary conditions and prosecutors inactive program to question the decease penalty. That volition beryllium decided by a jury, with the justice hoping to commencement the proceedings successful January aft choosing a assemblage from thousands of prospects starting successful November.
Cruz volition besides plead blameworthy to 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder. He was not initially contiguous during the hearing, but aboriginal entered the Broward County courtroom to plead blameworthy to attacking a jailhouse defender 9 months aft the shooting. He answered the judge's question astir his competency successful a dependable voice, replying, “Yes ma'am,” and “No ma'am,” arsenic sheriff's deputies watched implicit him and spectators.
Cruz said helium understood that prosecutors tin usage the condemnation arsenic an aggravating origin erstwhile they aboriginal reason for his execution.
The proceedings has been delayed by the pandemic and arguments betwixt the prosecution and defence implicit what grounds and grounds could beryllium presented to the jury. Some victims’ families had expressed vexation implicit the delays, but the president of the radical they formed expressed alleviation that the lawsuit present seems person to resolution.
Mitch and Annika Dworet, the lone victims' parents to be the hearing, said they are relieved the lawsuit is yet moving toward closure. Their 17-year-old lad Nick died successful the shooting portion his younger member Alex was wounded.
Mitch Dworet said helium tries hard not to deliberation astir the case, saying helium wants to absorption connected their sons. But his woman interjected, “We privation justness — it's time.” For them, that means Cruz's execution.
“We would similar to spot him suffer,” she said.
Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old girl Meadow was killed, said successful a telephone interrogation helium besides wants him executed. “Death by lethal injection seems excessively peaceful to me. I’d alternatively spot a hanging successful a nationalist square.”
In the aftermath of the shooting, Parkland pupil activists formed March for Our Lives, a radical that rallied hundreds of thousands astir the state for tighter weapon laws, including a nationally televised march successful Washington, D.C. Parents besides made impassioned pleas for accountability and policies aimed astatine halting weapon violence.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press