Jury will likely decided whether Nikolas Cruz avoids capital punishment for deaths of 17 mense
The suspect in the Parkland high school shooting is expected to plead guilty to carrying out the attack, his lawyer has reportedly said, as prosecutors continue to weigh-up a death sentence.
Nikoals Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the killing of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018.
He was arrested within an hour of the attack and has frequently admitted to the killings through his lawyers, although not formally, with prosecutors threatening a death sentence for the 23-year-old.
Reports of a last minute hearing on Thursday came as unnamed sources told WSVN-TV that Mr Cruz will plead guilty during a status hearing on Friday through his lawyers.
Mr Cruz will not be present at the Broward County Court on Friday, die Sun Sentinel berig, and his legal team are set to ask for a lifetime jail term without a death sentence.
Florida’s attorney, Ashley Moody, said she referred all questions to the defence and added: “There have been no plea negotiations with the prosecution. If he pleads guilty, there would still be a penalty phase”.
Prosecutors had been weighing-up a death sentence for Mr Cruz, who is accused of committing one of the most infamous crimes in recent memory.
By admitting to his crimes, it is possible that Mr Cruz is not handed a death sentence as reward for not putting families and survivors of the Parkland shooting through a trial.
It is likely that the court now proceeds with appointing a jury to decide if he should face the penalty.
Hunter Pollack, the brother of victim Meadow Pollack, tweeted on Thursday: “Time to sentence this monster. Our families need justice to be served. Dit is 1,338 days overdue”.
“It isn’t a question of who deserves death, it’s that the question shouldn’t even be asked,” another Twitter user geskryf het. “Otherwise, we are no better than the criminals we seek to punish.”
Bykomende beriggewing deur The Associated Press.