FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Attorneys were concerned about potential timing conflicts during the trials of the Parkland school shooter and the former Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy who was accused of inaction during the massacre.
Attorney Marc Eiglarsh, who is representing Scot Peterson, was in Broward County court on Thursday asking Broward Circuit Judge Martin Fein to reschedule the start of the former deputy’s trial.
“Our hearts go out to the victims’ families. We know that this being continued adversely affects them. We understand that, but what is fundamental in every criminal case is that a defendant has the right to due process and we need more time to prepare,” Eiglarsh said after the hearing.
Investigators found Peterson was hiding outside the building where Nikolas Cruz fired his AR-15 rifle on Feb. 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, according to prosecutors. He was the only armed school resource officer on campus.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigators found surveillance video showing Peterson standing with his gun drawn outside of the building, according to prosecutors. Peterson decided to retire soon after. He was arrested in 2019.
In October, Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. Peterson claims he took a “tactical position of cover” during the shooting.
Fein rescheduled Peterson’s trial to Feb. 27, 2023. Cruz’s death penalty trial is scheduled to begin on July 18. Fein also ordered Peterson’s defense not to release any of the school’s surveillance video.
Peterson is facing four counts of child neglect and seven counts of exposed culpable negligence.
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Local 10 News Futures Planner/Assignment Manager Kerry Weston contributed to this report.