FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Confessed Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is scheduled to return to court on Wednesday where he’s expected to plead guilty to all charges stemming from the February 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — the deadliest high school shooting in US history.
During a hearing last week, Cruz stood before Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer and pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, and three other charges in the case of the jailhouse beating of a Broward Sheriff’s deputy, 9 months after the school shootings.READ MORE: Sharp Increase In Hospitalized Children With Covid Investigated In South Africa
He answered the judge’s question about his competency in a steady voice and said he understood that prosecutors can use the conviction as an aggravating factor when they later argue for his execution.
At that hearing, it was revealed Cruz will also plead guilty to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.READ MORE: Florida Panthers Find Ways To Rally Again, Top Blues 4-3 In Shootout
“We’re asking the court to impose sentence on Wednesday on counts 18-24 in the Parkland case to 17 consecutive life sentences,” his attorney David Wheeler told the judge.
Judge Scherer noted Cruz, now 23, could change his mind before his plea hearing, which she agreed to set for Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 9:30 a.m.
Even after entering the guilty plea, Cruz will likely still go before a jury because the death penalty has not been taken off the table. Defense attorneys are hoping to avoid the death penalty and will likely present Cruz’s history of mental illness to jurors, attempting to argue for a life sentence instead.MORE NEWS: Police Shoot, Kill Knife-Wielding Suspect At Florida Institute of Technology
Cruz will be sentenced on the jail battery case on Wednesday. He faces up to 15 years in prison for that.