The 23-year-old self-confessed gunman, Parkland high school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, is expected to plead guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Sources say punishment for the charges against him would give Cruz 17 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Cruz, who loudly sobbed in court last week after officials took away his Pokémon coloring book, reportedly stormed into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High with an assault rifle and opened fire on students and staff. The GED student, who was 19 at the time of the onslaught, was obsessed with guns and once told a teacher “I’m a bad kid! I want to kill!” according to a book that examines the massacre (New York Post).
The plea deals, which are expected to be announced by lawyers tomorrow, would allow the defendant to circumvent an emotional trial and proceed to the sentencing phase, which would be decided by a jury, the report said. Cruz also pleaded guilty to jail battery charges separate from his expected guilty pleas for murder. The former student pleaded guilty to four felony charges of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer on Friday after he allegedly attacked a deputy in 2018.
According to video and eyewitness accounts, the suspect rushed, tackled and punched an officer in a jail common area before being restrained. The suspect’s lawyers had previously said that Cruz would plead guilty if prosecutors took the death penalty off the table, a request the state denied. Prosecutors have been persistent in their pursuit of the death penalty. The slaughter remains the deadliest high school shooting in US history (OANN).