Parkland School Shooter Nikolas Cruz Pleads Guilty to All Charges
In an apology to the victims' families after pleading guilty to 34 charges, Nikolas Cruz said, "I'm sorry, and I can't even watch TV anymore." He faces a minimum sentence of life in prison and a maximum sentence of the death penalty.
Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz has pled guilty to killing 17 people and attempting to kill another 17 people when he carried out the massacre of students and faculty members at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in February 2018.
The guilty plea, which has no conditions attached to it, means the 23-year-old killer could be executed for his crimes. In a statement to the family members of his victims, Cruz said that decision was up to them.
“I just want you to know I'm really sorry, and I hope you give me a chance to try to help others,” Cruz said, following nearly four minutes of pleading guilty to each of the 34 charges, addressing the families of the victims. “I believe it's your decision to decide where I go, and whether I live or die. Not the jury's. I believe it's your decision. I'm sorry."
Judge Elizabeth Scherer did remind him, however, that it will be the decision of a jury during the penalty trial, which begins January 4.
While Cruz could be delivered his minimum sentence, which is life in prison, the prosecution has said they will seek the death penalty, CNN reported.
“You will not come out until you are no longer alive, do you understand that?” Scherer told Cruz in court, pointing out that his life is as good as over no matter what the sentencing is.
Before being placed in handcuffs and escorted from the courtroom, he spent a few moments in his apology speech telling the victims' families that “I can’t even watch TV anymore,” and that "I hate drugs, and I believe this country would do better if everyone would stop smoking marijuana and doing all these drugs and causing racism and violence out in the streets.”
“We want him dead. We want him forgotten,” a victim’s family member told Inside Edition outside of the courthouse. “I don’t ever want to hear this kid’s name again.”
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