Broward County, Florida prosecutors announced in a filing on Tuesday that they were officially seeking the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, who is charged with the Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting massacre that left 17 dead and more than a dozen injured. Last week Cruz, above, appeared before magistrate court via video where 17 attempted murder charges were added by the grand jury to the existing premeditated murder charges.
In a notice filed Tuesday in circuit court, Michael J. Satz, the Broward state attorney, said the state intended to seek the death penalty for Cruz and would prove that the crime “was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.”
Satz’s filing included multiple aggravating factors he said warranted a death sentence, including that Cruz knowingly created a risk of death to many people and that the killings were “a homicide … committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner.”
Cruz’s public defender Howard Finkelstein is not contesting his client’s guilt, and is instead offering to have him plead guilty in exchange for life in prison. Finkelstein argues that Cruz doesn’t deserve to be executed on account of so many ignored red flags and the fact that the FBI had missed “multiple opportunities” to investigate reports of disturbing behavior.
The legal team for the 19-year-old say they were prepared to offer 34 consecutive life sentences without parole for Cruz to plead guilty on all counts.
While the death penalty on the table may or may not bring relief to Cruz’s victims and families of the deceased, the Washington Post points out that the decision made by prosecutors will likely result in a long, drawn-out trial which would include emotional testimony from Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivors, and what they witnessed that day.
(Via Washington Post)