Parkland mass shooting defendant Nikolas Jacob Cruz, 22, is scheduled for court hearings on back-to-back days this week. He will have a status conference on Tuesday in his death penalty case for opening fire at the Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School. Court is set to start at 1:30 p.m. ET. Wednesday will see a hearing for an assault case in which he is charged with attacking a jail guard. Court is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET in that matter.
Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida on February 14, 2018, prosecutors said. 17 people died: 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.
Cruz is also charged with 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder. His defense has not disputed that he was the shooter, but they have been trying to save him from the death penalty. Now they are trying to bar media coverage of pretrial hearings, suggesting it interferes with their client’s right to a fair trial.
“This case has been the subject of unprecedented and highly prejudicial publicity and media attention in Broward County, adjacent areas of Broward County and a majority of the state of Florida and even outside the state of Florida,” stated a motion filed on Thursday.
Media organizations including ABC, CBS News, NBC, and Fox Television Stations oppose the move.
“In a misguided response to the heightened public interest, in this case, the defense has sought at every turn to limit the public’s access to information about these proceedings,” they wrote in a filing. “Despite this Court’s repeated rejections of Defendant’s endeavors to cloak the case in secrecy, the instant Motion constitutes another attempt to conceal this important matter from the public eye.”
[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]
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