Update: 11:44 a.m.: Nikolas Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, battery on a law enforcement officer, depriving an officer means of protection, and the misdemeanor charge of attempted use of a self-defense weapon against a law enforcement officer on Friday. Judge Elizabeth Scherer asked him if he understood that the felony charges will be aggravating factors against him as prosecutors seek the death penalty in the murder case. Cruz said yes. Scherer adjudicated Cruz guilty and held off on sentencing him. A change of plea hearing for the Parkland school shooting case is scheduled for at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
Update, 10:51 a.m.: The defense requested a change of plea hearing in the mass shooting case against Nikolas Cruz for next Wednesday, when lead counsel is available. The lawyers also voiced plans to plead guilty in the law enforcement battery case. Judge Scherer agreed but wanted the battery plea to take place Friday because of inconveniences to jurors scheduled to come in on Monday. The judge scheduled a recess before the battery plea proceeding.
Our original article is below.
Nikolas Cruz was scheduled to appear for a status hearing on Friday amid reporting that he will plead guilty to the 2018 Parkland mass shooting. Prosecutors won’t budge on the death penalty if Cruz does take this step, however. Court is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET. You can watch in the player above.
Cruz, a former student, opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day 2018, prosecutors said. Video shows him confessing but trying to blame it on a “demon” in his head. His defense has never disputed he was the shooter, but they are trying to save him from the death penalty.
He will plead guilty to all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, according to a WSVN report on Thursday. But the state announced no plans to budge on seeking the death penalty.
“There have been no plea negotiations with the prosecution,” said the Broward State Attorney’s Office said in a statement to Law&Crime. “If he pleads guilty, there would still be a penalty phase.”
They referred all questions to the defense, who did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.
Cruz will also plead guilty to a attacking a Broward County jail guard in a November 2018 incident, according to WSVN.
The 10:30 a.m. status hearing will also cover this case, online records show.
Seventeen people were killed in the Parkland high school 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.
[Inmate photo via Broward County Jail]
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