- Nikolas Cruz will plead guilty in the Parkland high school shooting, his lawyers said Friday.
- He’s charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.
- His lawyers have sought to avoid the death penalty, but a jury is expected to decide his punishment.
Lawyers for Nikolas Cruz, who’s accused of killing 17 people and injuring 17 others in a shooting at Florida’s Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, told a judge Friday morning that Cruz will plead guilty to all charges against him.
In Florida’s Broward County Circuit Court, Cruz’s lawyer told Judge Elizabeth Scherer that he would enter guilty pleas on all counts. County prosecutors brought 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder against Cruz.
The Parkland shooting remains one of the deadliest school shootings in the history of the United States. Cruz, who was 19 at the time, was arrested an hour after the February 14, 2018, shooting and taken to Broward County jail.
According to WSVN, which first reported that Cruz planned to enter a guilty plea, Cruz’s lawyers have sought to negotiate a plea deal. His attorneys said that Cruz would agree to be sentenced to life in prison without parole if prosecutors declined to pursue the death penalty, but WSVN reported that prosecutors refused.
Scherer set a court date for Cruz to formally enter his plea on October 20. She’s expected to impanel a jury to decide whether Cruz should be sentenced to death.
Cruz also faces a separate set of battery charges for an altercation with a jail guard in November 2018. He pleaded guilty to those charges on Friday morning.
Manuel Oliver, the father of Joaquin Oliver, who was killed in the shooting, told WSVN that he felt a guilty plea was a long time coming from Cruz.
“I found this guy guilty since the last four years,” Oliver told WSVN. “That’s the reality. My son is not here. Joaquin is not here.”