Florida High School gunman, Nikolas Cruz, will be entering a guilty to plea to avoid the death sentence.
Cruz, who went on a bloody rampage in his old high school of Marjory Douglas Stoneman in South Florida with an assault rifle, will plead guilty in exchange for life in prison, according to the latest news reports.
While Cruz has not been formally charged his defense attorneys will meet with state prosecutors.
Speaking to the Sun-Sentinal on Friday, Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said:
There is only one question: Should this young man live or should he die by execution?
We believe it’s in nobody’s best interest to go through a circus of a trial.
Finkelstein went on to say:
There is no way anyone can minimize the tragedy of what took place.
It’s time to mourn; it’s time to figure out how to prevent future tragedies. He should spend the rest of his life in prison, but he does not deserve to die.
Cruz, aged 19, was apprehended and taken into police custody shortly after going on a shooting rampage through his old high school, he stands accused of 17 counts of premeditated murder. It was confirmed that he was a former student but was expelled following behavioural and disciplinary issues.
Finkelstein has argued that a trial would be a complete waste of time as punishment is the only issue. However, talks of pleas and suitable punishments are still premature at this point, according to Prosecutor Shari Tate, head of the homicide unit at the Broward State Attorney’s Office.
Under Florida state law, a death penalty sentence can be passed if the jury unanimously agrees to it following analysis of aggravating factors made by a prosecution and mitigating circumstances presented by the defence.
Cruz’s defence believes there are many factors in his life which need to be accessed and brought to the attention of the jury to persuade them to not take his life, this includes an autism diagnosis which has reported by people close to the shooter, but not officially confirmed.
This kid didn’t have to fall through the cracks. He screamed for help, and we failed him. He should never go free. Let him plead guilty and send him to prison for life.
According to reports following Cruz’s murderous rampage, prior to carrying out the mass shooting, he was marked down as a cause for concern by the FBI and his school.
The shooting at the Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School marks the 18th mass shooting in America this year.