In a separate case, Cruz pleaded guilty on Friday to four criminal counts stemming from after an alleged attack on Broward County jail guard Sgt. Raymond Beltran in November of that year.
Cruz is expected to plead guilty to the shootings on Wednesday at 9 am. EDT.
Cruz’s status hearing in Broward County Circuit Court before Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer was scheduled abruptly on Thursday.
The guilty plea avoids a lengthy trial and Cruz will still face a jury to determine whether he gets the death penalty or life in prison, volgens die verslag.
“We have to refer all of your questions to the defense,” the Broward County state attorney’s office said Thursday night. “There have been no plea negotiations with the prosecution. If he pleads guilty, there would still be a penalty phase.”
Cruz was arrested on Valentine’s Day 2018 about an hour after the attack with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.
The shootings led to nationwide protests against gun violence, insluitend die “March for Our Lives,” bykomend tot new gun control legislation.
His lawyers have previously offered to plead guilty in exchange for a guaranteed sentence of life in prison. Egter, state prosecutors have been dogged in their pursuit of the death penalty.
A large part of the penalty phase would likely focus on Cruz’s mental condition at the time of the killings.
“There is very little doubt he murdered my beautiful daughter, Gina, of die 16 other victims,” Tony Montalto, president of the Stand With Parkland group that represents the families of the victims, told The Associated Press on Thursday. “There is very little doubt he shot the other 17 people and terrorized all the other students at the school. We just hope the system gives him justice.”
Associated Press het bygedra tot hierdie verslag.