Prosecutors seek death penalty for Nikolas Cruz

Nikolas Cruz accused of murdering 17 people

Nikolas Cruz accused of murdering 17 people

Prosecutors in Florida have announced that they will seek the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, who is accused of spraying a Florida high school with gunfire last month, leaving 17 people dead.

Tuesday's court filing said he must give notice at least 20 days before the trial of "intent to present expert testimony of mental mitigation".

The offer was declined by prosecutors for several reasons - among them, "heinous, atrocious and cruel" nature of the crimes and the "cold, calculated and premeditated way" it was handled, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

In a notice filed Tuesday in circuit court, Michael J. 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".

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"The state intends to seek the death penalty against defendant Nikolas Jacob Cruz", the state attorney for Broward County, Michael Satz, said in a court filing on the eve of the next hearing in the case.

If he does reach a plea deal with prosecutors, the only other option for Cruz is life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is due to appear in court in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday for his arraignment, where he will be formally asked to plead to the charges. "If we are not allowed to do so tomorrow, we will stand mute to the charges". While they continue to acknowledge that he carried out the rampage, they cannot plead guilty while Cruz could be sentenced to death, Finkelstein said Tuesday.

His lawyers have let it be known he is prepared to plead guilty if he is guaranteed not to receive a death sentence.

Daniel Reed, a parent of a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who initiated a petition drive seeking to have Amazon remove the National Rifle Association's channel from its offerings, said he was opposed to the death penalty for Mr Cruz.

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