Prosecutors in Broward County, Florida, have decided to seek the death penalty for the Parkland high school student charged with murdering 17 people in February, a report says.
Authorities filed an intent to seek the ultimate penalty in a March 13 court document, Fox News reported.
An attorney for Nikolas Cruz had said his client would plead guilty to the charges stated in the county’s 34-count indictment for the February 14 murder of 17 people, but only if prosecutors take the death penalty off the table. Cruz’s attorneys wanted prosecutors to seek life in prison without parole.
Cruz’s legal team has not yet responded to the news that he may face the death penalty.
The Broward County Sheriff’s office has said that the suspect has stayed to himself through his stay in jail thus far. He was reported as “lying on his back staring at the ceiling” and has avoided eye contact with guards and others.
However, Sheriff’s office records also note that Cruz has “broken out in laughter” at times when in the company of his lawyers. He also requested a Bible on February 24.
Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein noted that with Cruz’s history of behavioral problems, the question is not whether or not he perpetrated the shocking crime.
It’s “Not, did he do it? Not, should he go free? Should he live or should he die,” Finkelstein said.”He added, “That’s what this case is about.”