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Parkland school shooter to plead guilty


Nikolas Cruz consults with a defense attorney before pleading guilty to some criminal charges on Oct. 15. Associated Press/Photo by Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel

Parkland school shooter to plead guilty

Nikolas Cruz, 23, appeared in court in Broward County, Fla., on Friday to plead guilty to four criminal counts related to an attack on prison guards in 2018. At the hearing, Cruz’s attorneys said he would also plead guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Jury selection for the penalty phase of Cruz’s case will start in November. Cruz’s attorneys will be fighting for life without parole, but prosecutors still intend to pursue the death penalty.

What happened at Parkland? On Valentine’s Day 2018, Cruz, then 19, arrived at the high school with a rifle. He assembled it in a stairwell and opened fire, killing 14 students and three staff members and wounding 17 more people. Cruz then threw his rifle aside and blended in with other students before police arrested him in a neighborhood hours later. Cruz initially pleaded not guilty to murder charges even though he confessed to police at his arrest. The 2018 shooting led to a Florida state law that now requires at least one armed guard on each public school campus when classes are in session.

Dig deeper: Listen to Brigitte Sylvestre report on Parkland recovery efforts a year after the tragedy on The World and Everything in It podcast.


Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa.

@CarolinaLumetta

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Phil W

He also attempted to convince officers he was insane, but no one believed him. Pleading guilty is his best option.