Prosecutors will seek death penalty for accused #MSD school shooter Nikolas Cruz

FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2018 file photo, Nikolas Cruz, accused of murdering 17 people in the Florida high school shooting, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Cruz was formally charged Wednesday, March 7, with 17 counts of first-degree murder, which could mean a death sentence if he is convicted. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool, File)

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, the gunman who confessed to bringing an AR-15 to Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school on Feb. 14 and killing 17 innocent people.

Last week, a grand jury indicted the 19-year-old on 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first degree.

In it’s filing with the court, the prosecution stated that, “among the aggravating factors spurring its decision, were that Cruz knowingly created a risk of death for many people, his crime was aimed at hindering “any government function or the enforcement of laws” and that the shooting was “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.”

Additionally, “The capital felony was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification.”

Cruz’s public defense attorneys previously said their client would plead guilty if prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. The action by prosecutors Tuesday does not necessarily mean a plea deal will not be reached.

The only other penalty option for Cruz is life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Cruz now “stands mute” to the charges against him.

He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for an arraignment hearing.


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