The man accused of committing the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history plans to plead guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder. The now 23-year-old suspect stormed into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, and killed 14 students and three staff members. The attack also left 17 people injured.
While attorneys for Nikolas Cruz have been trying to negotiate a plea deal to take the death penalty off the table, they said that his decision to plead guilty does not come with any preconditions.
Prosecutors said they still plan to seek the death penalty against Cruz when the case goes to a jury for the penalty phase.
"We have to refer all of your questions to the defense," the Broward County state attorney's office said. "There have been no plea negotiations with the prosecution. If he pleads guilty, there would still be a penalty phase."
Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer scheduled a hearing next Wednesday (October 20) at 9 a.m. ET for Cruz to change his plea.
Cruz also pleaded guilty to four criminal counts for attacking Broward County jail guard Sgt. Raymond Beltran in November 2018.