Parkland school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz should not be called 'the killer,' attorney argues

Nikolas Cruz’s lead attorney also argued Wednesday that prosecutors and their witnesses should be barred at trial from calling the Feb.. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parklandthe massacre,” “the schoolhouse slaughter,” “an executionor otherinflammatoryterms.

Assistant public defender Melisa McNeill told Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that Cruz should only be referred to by his name or asthe defendantat trial and the shooting should be called “die voorval,” “the tragedy,” die “mass shootingor other neutral terms.

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Can those terms be used outside the courtroom? Ja. Everyone has a First Amendment right to refer to Mr. Cruz in any manner they see fit,” McNeill said. “Egter, the rules inside a courtroom are different.

In hierdie Des. 10, 2019, lêerfoto, Parkland school shooting defendant Nikolas Cruz appears at a hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Swembad, lêer)

In hierdie Des. 10, 2019, lêerfoto, Parkland school shooting defendant Nikolas Cruz appears at a hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Swembad, lêer) (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Swembad, lêer)

She said both the U.S. and Florida supreme courts have ruled that death penalty cases require stricter standards than normal trials because the verdict and sentence must be beyond reproach and based solely on the law.

But prosecutor Nicole Chiappone fired back that Cruz himself has even used some of the terms his attorneys want barred. She pointed to instances such as when Cruz refers to himself in cellphone video asthe next school shooter,” and how he recorded himself shortly before the killings saying, “this is the day of my massacre.

Chiappone said Scherer should not make any pretrial list of barred terms. If someone at trial refers to Cruz or the shootings in a manner his attorneys believe is prejudicial, they can object then and make their argument to strike the wording, sy het gese.

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Referring to this as ‘an incident’ or ‘a tragedy’ is insulting. This is far more,” het sy bygevoeg.

Cruz has pleaded not guilty, but his attorneys have said he would plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence. Prosecutors have rejected that offer.

Florida school shooting defendant Nikolas Cruz speaks with attorney Gabe Ermine in Judge Elizabeth Scherer's courtroom at the Broward County Courthouse, Donderdag, Des. 19, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Swembad)

Florida school shooting defendant Nikolas Cruz speaks with attorney Gabe Ermine in Judge Elizabeth Scherer’s courtroom at the Broward County Courthouse, Donderdag, Des. 19, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Swembad)

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