Nikolas Cruz shot up a Florida high school on Valentine’s Day and was captured 40 minutes after the shooting. He will be entering a guilty plea in order to avoid Florida’s death sentence.
Cruz, who shot up his former high school Marjory Douglas Stoneman, will plead guilty so he can acquire a life in prison sentence, reports the Sun-Sentinal.
The gunman has yet to be formally charged for his crimes, but his defense attorneys plan to meet with state prosecutors.
Giving a statement to the Sun-Sentinal, Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said, “There is only one question: Should this young man live or should he die by execution? We believe it’s in nobody’s best interest to go through a circus of a trial.”
Finkelstein continued, “There is no way anyone can minimize the tragedy of what took place. It’s time to mourn; it’s time to figure out how to prevent future tragedies. He should spend the rest of his life in prison, but he does not deserve to die.”
Cruz stands accused of 17 counts of premeditated murder and it has been confirmed he used to be a student at Marjory Douglas Stoneman, but was expelled after behavioral and disciplinary issues.
“Finkelstein has argued that a trial would be a complete waste of time as punishment is the only issue. However, talks of pleas and suitable punishments are still premature at this point, according to Prosecutor Shari Tate, head of the homicide unit at the Broward State Attorney’s Office,” reports UNILAD.
Florida State law has a very stringent death penalty sentence, where it can be passed if a jury unanimously agrees to it after following analysis of exasperated factors made by a prosecution and mitigated circumstances presented by the defense.
The gunman’s defense attorney holds the belief that many of Cruz’ life factors need to be highlighted in front of a jury to convince them not to give him the death sentence, which includes an autism diagnosis that has only been reported by people who knew Cruz, and not a medical professional.
Finkelstein says, “This kid didn’t have to fall through the cracks. He screamed for help, and we failed him. He should never go free. Let him plead guilty and send him to prison for life.”
“According to reports following Cruz’s murderous rampage, prior to carrying out the mass shooting, he was marked down as a cause for concern by the FBI and his school,” reports UNILAD. “The shooting at the Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School marks the 18th mass shooting in America this year.”
So what do you think will happen? Will Cruz avoid the death penalty or will the jury see him hang?