Now that he’s plead guilty, Cruz could potentially face the death penalty.
On Wednesday, October 20th, 23-year-old Nikolas Cruz plead guilty to the murder of 17 people during his attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida back on Valentine’s Day of 2018.
The criminal’s defence team avoided pleading guilty for some time in hopes of getting the death penalty taken off the table, but eventually gave in, although they still hope to avoid such a severe sentence for Cruz. Instead, they’ve requested that the court hand him a total of 17 life sentences.
After replying “guilty,” each time he was asked how he would like to plead, the gunman was given an opportunity to address the families of his victims. “I am very sorry for what I did, and I have to live with it every day,” he told them. “I am doing this for you, and I do not care if you don’t believe me. And I love you, and I know you don’t believe me.”
NPR reports that there was a heavy emotional cloud in the courtroom. Moments before Cruz shared his apology, lead prosecutor Michael Satz shared gruesome details about what happened on that fateful day, recounting where each person was in the building, and how they were killed or injured.
Jury selection for the sentencing phase of Cruz’s trial is set to begin on January 4th, 2022. Victims of the shooting reportedly came to an agreement on a $25 million settlement over the Broward County school district being accused of negligence for failing to prevent the attack before it happened.
Watch the live stream of Cruz’s trial from earlier today in the video above.