Florida shooter faces death penalty for school massacre

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The Broward County state attorney will seek the death penalty in its case against Nikolas Cruz, who is charged with 17 counts of murder in the Parkland, Fla., shooting.

In a notice filed Tuesday in circuit court, Michael Satz, the Broward state attorney, said the state meant to seek the death penalty for Cruz and would prove that the crime "was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel".

According to CNN, the notice cited multiple aggravating factors under Florida law that affected its decision to seek the death penalty for the teenage gunman.

A notice filed on Tuesday explained that prosecutors are now seeking the death penalty, as this would in turn prove that the crime was "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel".

Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, whose office is representing Cruz, has said there were so many warning signs that Cruz was mentally unstable and potentially violent, and that the death penalty might be going too far.

Prosecutors, in Tuesday's filing, also ask the court to put several provisions in place in the event that Cruz's defense intends to introduce documentation or testimony regarding their client's mental health.

And while Nikolas Cruz opted to stand mute, the outlet pointed out that it still has the same immediate effect as a not guilty plea.

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. Florida had previously required a 10-2 standard to sentence someone to death. While some were not in favor of the move, others expressed their agreement to the said penalty. "We are not saying he is not guilty but we can't plead guilty while death is still on the table", Finkelstein said.

United States prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, the teenager accused of killing 17 people in a massacre at a high school in February.

Cruz has another formal arraignment scheduled for Wednesday, during which he is expected to be arraigned on an additional 17 counts of first-degree murder.

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