19 year old who massacred fellow students faces Death Penalty
Nikolas Cruz is facing the death penalty after being officially charged with 17 counts of capital murder for the February 14 massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School.
The 19-year-old was indicted on Wednesday after one of the couples who took him in after his mother died in November testified before a grand jury about him.
Nikolas cruz & his Public defender
The teenager is currently being held in isolation at Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
Cruz is charged with 34 different crimes – 17 first degree premeditated murder charges and 17 first degree attempted murder charges for the others who were injured.
The teenager’s public defenders say he will plead guilty if the death penalty is taken off the table. If prosecutors deny their request, the case will go to trial.
State Attorney Michael J. Satz announced the charges in a press release on Wednesday after James and Kimberly Snead spent around 30 minutes speaking before the jury panel behind closed doors in Fort Lauderdale.
Cruz was living with them in Parkland, Florida, when he carried out the attack.
They have spoken about him publicly since and stood by their decision to let him keep guns in the home.
Cruz’s public defender has said he’ll plead guilty if prosecutors take the death penalty off the table, which would mean a life prison sentence.
Earlier on Wednesday, details of his life behind jail emerged in logs kept by the guards who are monitoring him at Broward County Jail.
They described him as a quiet inmate who has a varied appetite and struggles to sleep.
He is not allowed to have any interaction with other inmates but answers verbal commands well and is responsive to his doctors and lawyers.
During one visit with a lawyer, he was also heard laughing and giggling, they said.
Cruz often tosses and turns at night as he struggles to get to sleep and stares at the ceiling, the guards noted.
On February 24, ten days after the murders, he asked for a bible to read at night.
The teenager’s public defender Melissa McNeill previously described him as a ‘broken person’.
He has a history of mental illness and unpredictable, violent behavior which appears to have begun after his adoptive mother Lynda died from pneumonia, a side effect of the flu, in November.
Ninety-six inmates have been executed in Florida since 1976. The most recent was Eric Branch who died on February 22.