Prosecutors To Seek Death Penalty for Parkland Teen Shooter

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The former student accused of killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month will face the death penalty, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

State attorney Michael Satz notified a Broward County court that prosecutors intend to seek capital punishment for the teen killer, who stormed into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and methodically gunned down his former classmates and teachers on February 14.

Nikolas Cruz, who was arrested after that massacre on Valentine's Day in Parkland, Florida, was indicted last week by a grand jury in Broward County on 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree, and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first degree.

After the filing, Mr Cruz's lawyers repeated their offer for him to plead guilty if prosecutors agreed to not pursue the death penalty.

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If he does reach a plea deal with prosecutors, the only other option for Cruz is life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Finkelstein's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

If Cruz does not enter a plea, a not guilty plea will likely be entered on his behalf by Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer to keep the legal process moving along, his attorneys have said.

"If not allowed to do that tomorrow (at the hearing), out of respect for the victims' families we will stand mute to the charges at the arraignment".

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The decision to seek the death penalty against Nikolas Cruz, 19, was widely expected, in part because Mr. Satz had hinted at his plans days after the attack.

The shooting has reignited the debate over gun control in Florida and across the country.

The family's attorney says that after surgeries, his intestinal area has been sealed off. Alex Arreaza says the student is breathing on his own after being taken off a ventilator.

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