Parkland Killer Pleads Guilty, May Still Face Death Penalty

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Illustration by Vince via Flickr

The former student who murdered his classmates and teachers in Parkland, Florida in 2018 pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the premeditated murder of 17 people and the attempted murder of 17 others, leaving his fate in the hands of a jury. He faces life in prison or execution, reports The New York Times.

The 34 guilty pleas were enumerated in a courtroom filled with the families of those who were killed and injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The community was preparing for a long trial but now soon faces the penalty phase as the state seeks to put the former student, Nikolas Cruz, to death.

Armed with a legally purchased semiautomatic rifle, Mr. Cruz, then 19, committed one of the deadliest school shootings in American history. “You’re all going to die,” Mr. Cruz said in one of three videos he recorded on his cellphone. From the start, Cruz’s lawyers said he would agree to plead guilty in exchange for life imprisonment. But the top prosecutor in Broward County at the time of the attack, Michael J. Satz, has said he would pursue the death penalty.

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