Florida prosecutors to seek death penalty for accused Parkland shooter

Nikolas Cruz could be put to death by the state of Florida if he's found guilty for the slaying of the 17 victims in Parkland

Nikolas Cruz could be put to death by the state of Florida if he's found guilty for the slaying of the 17 victims in Parkland

A Florida prosecutor said Tuesday that he would seek the death penalty against the man accused of killing 17 people last month at a high school in Parkland, moving the state closer to a rare trial for someone charged in a mass shooting.

Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the attack on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which 14 students and three staff died.

Cruz's lawyers previously said the former student would plead guilty only if the death penalty was not pursued by state prosecutors.

In a notice filed Tuesday in circuit court, Michael Satz, the Broward state attorney, said the state meant to seek the death penalty for Cruz and would prove that the crime "was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel".

Nikolas Cruz, who was arrested after that massacre on Valentine's Day in Parkland, Florida, was indicted last week by a grand jury in Broward County on 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree, and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first degree. Mr Finkelstein said Cruz would plead guilty if prosecutors opt not to seek the death penalty. The announcement doesn't negate the ability for a plea deal to be reached.

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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.

Florida voters may get a chance to decide whether or not they want to approve new gun control restrictions.

Tony Montalto, whose daughter was one of the 17 killed at Stoneman Douglas, asked commissioners at a Tuesday public hearing to put the proposals before voters. After surgeries, his condition was upgraded to fair.

"You can help defeat this challenge", Montalto told commissioners.

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