Nikolas Cruz to face penalty phase even if he pleads guilty, prosecutors say


PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – If Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, prosecutors said there would still be a penalty phase.

According to Paula McMahon, a spokeswoman for the Broward State Attorney’s Office, as of Thursday night there had not been any plea negotiations in the case of the 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

There is a status hearing scheduled for 10:30 a.m., on Friday, in Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer’s courtroom, according to McMahon.

Cruz, now 23, confessed to the shooting when he was 19, which involved an AR-15 rifle and careful planning. His defense attorneys did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday night, but their efforts have focused on keeping Cruz away from the death penalty.

“Nothing, not even the death penalty would in any way balance what happened to my son,” Manuel Oliver said on Thursday night.

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Oliver’s 17-year-old son Joaquin “Guac” Oliver was among the 17 who died of gunshot wounds at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. The grieving father is also among the parents who have turned to activism in support of gun control to deal with the aftermath of the tragedy.

11 p.m. report

If Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, prosecutors said there would still be a penalty phase with a jury.
If Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, prosecutors said there would still be a penalty phase with a jury.

Interview with Manuel Oliver

Relatives of the victims of the 2018 Parkland massacre react to news of a status hearing in Nikolas Cruz’s case.
Relatives of the victims of the 2018 Parkland massacre react to news of a status hearing in Nikolas Cruz’s case.

Local 10 News Assignment Desk Editor Wilson Louis contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.


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