Prosecutors Will Seek Death Penalty for Accused Stoneman Douglas Shooter

When tragedy struck athletes stepped up for a Florida high school

JPelose22/Twitter Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida on March 7

Satz formally submitted a Notice of Intent to Seek Death with the Clerk of Courts on Tuesday, March 13.

Florida prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz in the fatal shooting of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The 19-year-old Cruz is scheduled for formal arraignment Wednesday on a 34-count indictment, including 17 first-degree murder charges. He faces 34 charges, including 17 counts of first-degree murder.

But the State Attorney's Office wouldn't take capital punishment off the table, listing seven "aggravating factors" that a jury can use to justify ordering Cruz's execution for the February 14 shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Gordon Weekes, the Chief Assistant Public Defender, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Cruz and his defense attorneys are still prepared to make a plea deal.

In its filing, the prosecution said that, among the aggravating factors spurring its decision, were that Cruz knowingly created a risk of death for many people, his crime was aimed at hindering "any government function or the enforcement of laws" and that the shooting was "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel".

Standing mute has the same legal effect as pleading not guilty, but in Cruz's case could be part of a legal strategy as his attorneys prepare for the death-penalty trial. "We are not saying he is not guilty, but we can't plead guilty while death is still on the table".

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