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Attorneys for confessed Parkland gunman seeking life sentence rather than death penalty

Accused Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz virtually went before a judge on Wednesday as his attorneys prepare to defend his violent actions.
Accused Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz virtually went before a judge on Wednesday as his attorneys prepare to defend his violent actions.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Accused Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz virtually went before a judge on Wednesday as his attorneys prepare to defend his violent actions.

Multiple attorneys for both the defense and prosecution went back and forth during the pre-trial hearing on several motions filed regarding Cruz and his upcoming trial.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Cruz, who confessed to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.

A total of 17 students and faculty were killed that day, with another 17 injured in the shooting.

Cruz’s attorneys filed multiple motions on his behalf, working toward what they’re calling a fair trial.

One of his attorneys argued she has no intention of justifying his actions, but that information on his character should not go unheard.

“The whole concept on individualized sentenced is what makes the death penalty constitutional in this country,” said defense attorney Melissa McNeil. “There’s no more certain way to guarantee Mr. Cruz another trial than to exclude mitigation that is relevant to his character, his prior acts, or the circumstances of the events.”

Cruz has pleaded not guilty, but his attorneys have said he would change his plea to guilty in exchange for a life sentence rather than a death sentence.

An official trial date has not been set.

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About the Author:

Eden Checkol co-anchors Local 10's 10 p.m. weeknight newscast on WSFL and also reports on WPLG newscasts. She’s a Minnesota native who is thrilled to leave the snow behind and call South Florida home.