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Defense attorneys for Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz are asking a judge to order investigators to preserve most evidence in the case, except for the building where the Valentine's Day massacre took place.
A hearing was set Thursday on motions seeking to preserve evidence including field notes made by law enforcement officials that may have some bearing on the case. The motions don't object to the planned destruction of the crime scene building where 17 people died and 17 others were wounded in the attack in February.
Delayed until a July 16 hearing is another defense motion seeking to prevent public release of Cruz's statement to detectives after the shooting. The Cruz lawyers say it would jeopardize his fair trial rights.
Nineteen-year-old Cruz faces the death penalty if convicted.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
The Parkland school shooter is due back in court for a routine hearing Thursday, setting aside for now the question of how much of his confession should be released to the public.
Defense lawyers say Nikolas Cruz, 19, is entitled to a fair trial that cannot be served if potential jurors continue to be exposed to incriminating statements he made after his arrest.
Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer set a July 16 hearing to review their argument. Until then, the confession will remain under wraps.
Cruz is charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. He faces the death penalty if convicted.
Prosecutors argue they have a legal obligation to release any statements other than the “substance” of Cruz’s confession. Late last month they released three cell phone videos in which Cruz can be seen and heard planning the murderous rampage.
Today’s hearing is expected to tackle more routine motions in the case, including a defense request to preserve the notes taken by officers after the mass shooting. It is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.
I will update this when anything else of merit is found, or after today's hearing is over.