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FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/CNN) – As a criminal case is being built against confessed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High gunman Nikolas Cruz, more information is surfacing about his past.

Court documents indicate that a year before the massacre, school officials and a Broward Sheriff’s deputy were so concerned about his mental stability that they recommended that he be involuntarily committed for a three-day evaluation. Had that recommendation been acted upon, it would have been almost impossible for Cruz to legally buy the rifle he used to kill 17 people at the school, according to officials.

Last week, a judge entered a plea of not guilty on Cruz’s behalf during his arraignment.

A Broward County grand jury indicted the 19-year-old gunman on 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first degree.

Wednesday’s plea in a Fort Lauderdale court came after Cruz’s defense attorney told the judge that the teen was standing mute to the charges — meaning he was declining to enter a plea.

Cruz, wearing a red jail jumpsuit, largely kept his head down as he sat in a jury box with three law enforcement officers standing behind him.

Some relatives of the victims also sat in the courtroom, watching the proceedings. A few of them wiped tears after Cruz entered the room.

Also watching was Cruz’s younger brother, Zachary Cruz.

Prosecutors announced in court filings that they will seek the death penalty. They listed several factors, including that Cruz knowingly created a risk of death for many people and that the shooting was “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.”

The head of the county’s public defender’s office, which is representing Cruz, said last month that there is no question Cruz is guilty and that he was willing to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty.

Cruz is being held without bond at the Broward County Jail, where he’s segregated from other inmates.

(©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)


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