FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Admitted school shooter Nikolas Cruz left his jail cell at the Broward County Jail Friday afternoon for a brief court hearing.
He stood before a judge to hear the new charges against him — an additional 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder, the result of a grand jury indictment filed Friday.
Cruz did not speak during the hearing and never lifted his head to look directly at the camera while he appeared in court by video on Friday afternoon. In fact, the only time Cruz looked up at all was a brief glance at his attorney. During the hearing, Cruz heard the new charges against him based on a grand jury indictment filed Wednesday.
“Grand jury indictment, charges 18-34 for attempted murder in the first degree,’ said Judge Kim Mollica.
That means Cruz faces 17 counts of first-degree murder for the taking the lives of students, teachers, and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for leaving another group of people wounded.
On Thursday, Cruz’s public defender filed a motion saying that Cruz is standing mute on a plea — not saying he’s guilty or not guilty.
A source close to the case says Cruz’s attorneys are doing that out of respect for the victims and to say they’re not contesting Cruz’s guilt.
The Public defender made it known early on that Cruz will accept responsibility and plead guilty to the crimes in exchange for prosecutors agreeing not to seek the death penalty against him. It’s likely that in the next few weeks prosecutors will announce their decision on whether to seek the ultimate punishment for this murders.
Also Friday, we learned a few more details about Cruz’s social media and online activities that detectives are investigating to try and determine Cruz’s possible motive and actions leading up to the shootings.
A search warrant shows that investigators requested information on 9 email addresses believed to belong to Cruz, including such usernames as “crazynikolas6979” and “antifakiller69” as they search for any information sought on those accounts on preparing a mass shooting.
Another search warrant shows investigators are looking at 2 Snapchat accounts that might belong to Cruz for “…photos, Stories, Memories, and/or Camera Roll content related to information concerning pictures of students, school areas or evidence of plans or threats related to violence at Stoneman Douglas High School or any other school…”
Cruz is still being held without bond. He will return to court next week to be formally arraigned on the charges.
Since his attorneys filed a motion saying they are standing mute on a specific plea, we’re told the judge will enter a plea for him — a plea of not guilty.