Nikolas Cruz incurs a sanction phase even if he pleads guilty, according to prosecutors

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PEMBROKE PARK, Florida – If Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, prosecutors said there would still be a penalty phase.

Broward State Attorney’s Office spokesperson Paula McMahon said Thursday night there had been no plea bargaining in the 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday in the courtroom of Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer, according to McMahon.

Cruz, now 23, confessed to the shooting at the age of 19, which involved an AR-15 rifle and careful planning. His defense lawyers did not respond to requests for comment Thursday evening, but their efforts focused on removing Cruz from the death penalty.

“Nothing, not even the death penalty, would in any way balance what happened to my son,” Manuel Oliver said Thursday evening.

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Oliver’s son, Joaquin “Guac” Oliver, 17, was among 17 people who died from gunshot wounds to Marjory Stoneman Douglas. The grieving father is also among the parents who have turned to gun control activism to deal with the aftermath of the tragedy.

11 p.m. report

If Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, prosecutors said there would still be a penalty phase with a jury.
If Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, prosecutors said there would still be a penalty phase with a jury.

Interview with Manuel Oliver

Relatives of the 2018 Parkland massacre victims are reacting to news of a status hearing in Nikolas Cruz’s case.
Relatives of the 2018 Parkland massacre victims are reacting to news of a status hearing in Nikolas Cruz’s case.

Local 10 News Assignment Office Editor Wilson Louis contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.


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