On Tuesday prosecutors filed a notice of intent to go after the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, who plead guilty to killing 17 people in Parkland, FL.
The perpetrator will face a formal arraignment today on a 34-count indictment, which includes 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.
“Cruz’s attorney previously said the 19-year-old would plead guilty if prosecutors did not pursue the death penalty. Tuesday’s notice of intent does not necessarily mean a plea deal will not be reached,” FOX News reports. “The only other penalty option for Cruz is life in prison with no possibility of parole.”
Weeks after the massacre occurred the disturbing details behind Cruz’s background were revealed, which included violent behavior in school.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office disclosed how the mass killer was behaving behind bars, observing him avoid eye contact and “lying on his back staring at the ceiling.” At other times, Cruz appeared “restless” and in “deep thought.”
After a meeting with his attorney, deputies witnessed Cruz “break out in laughter both during and immediately following his professional visit.” Just 10 days after the shooting he requested a Bible because he was having trouble sleeping.
Via FOX News: A family source also detailed to Fox News Cruz’s past behavioral problems. His adoptive mother, who died in November 2017 from pneumonia, endured years of torment because of her children’s outbursts. In one instance, Cruz hit his mother with a vacuum hose when she confiscated his Xbox, according to the family source. He reportedly punched his mother in the jaw when she refused to stop at a store Cruz wanted.
Cruz struggled at school, too. The school therapist and psychiatrist at Cross Creek, a school in Pompano Beach that specializes in students with behavioral and emotional disorders, wrote in a letter before summer 2014 that they were concerned about Cruz’s “aggressive and destructive” behavior at home.
“At home, he continues to be aggressive and destructive with minimal provocation,” the letter stated. “For instance, he destroyed his television after losing a video game that he was playing. Nikolas has a hatchet that he uses to chop up a dead tree in his backyard. Mom has not been able to locate that hatchet as of lately.”
Cruz was eventually able to transition out of the school after showing “tremendous progress” with his behavior. The began attending Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School full-time in January 2016 until he transferred out in February 2017.
Should Nikolas Cruz get the death penalty?