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FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - 7News has learned that the suspect in the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will plead guilty.
Rather than going to trial, 23-year-old Nikolas Cruz will plead guilty to all 17 counts of premeditated murder and all 17 counts of attempted murder in the Valentine’s Day shooting that killed 17 people and wounded more than a dozen others.
Cruz had already confessed to the killings of students and staff at the Parkland school on Feb. 14, 2018.
Cruz’s defense team said their client would plead guilty for life in prison without parole if prosecutors took the death penalty off the table. That offer had been denied by prosecutors. The Public Defender’s Office told 7News they could not confirm nor deny that Cruz would in fact be pleading guilty.
Cruz’s attorneys will officially announce their client’s plea on Friday.
Rather than going to trial, the case is expected to proceed to the penalty phase. A jury will then be tasked with deciding whether Cruz receives the death penalty or life in prison.
7News has also learned that Cruz will also plead guilty to battery on a Broward County jail guard back in November 2018. Surveillance video first obtained by 7News showed Cruz rushing and punching Sgt. Raymond Beltran in a brawl that lasted nearly a minute before coming to an end.