Prosecutors push back on talk of plea deal for Parkland gunman

'Type of case the death penalty was designed for,' state's attorney says

By Tim Swift - Digital Editor

PARKLAND, Fla. - Prosecutors said Saturday that it was too early in the process to discuss a plea agreement for Nikolas Cruz who confessed to killing 17 people in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

However, Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz said, "This is the type of case the death penalty was designed for." 

"This was a highly calculated and premeditated murder of 17 people and the attempted murder of everyone in that school," Staz said. "Our office will announce our formal position at the appropriate time.”

Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein said Friday that his client would plead guilty immediately in exchange for a state promise to not seek the death penalty.

Cruz confessed to "shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on the school grounds," according to a probable cause affidavit.

"The only question is, does he live or does he die?" Finkelstein said.

Before the shooting, Cruz had a history of mental and behavioral issues, which could become part of an insanity defense.

The former Stoneman Douglas student told investigators that he heard voices in his head, giving him instructions on how to conduct the attack, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Cruz's next court date is set for Monday morning.

Former State and Federal Prosecutor David Weinstein called Finkelstein's offer an "interesting tactic," but said state law allows the victims' relatives to have input on the sentencing.

"It seems too early to me for the state to agree to a life sentence," Weinstein said.

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