Prosecutors will seek death penalty for Nikolas Cruz

Father of victim would rather see Parkland school shooter 'rot in prison'

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Andrew Perez - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for the gunman who fatally shot 17 people Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the Broward County state attorney's office announced Tuesday.

Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz formally submitted a notice of intent to seek death with the Clerk of Courts on Tuesday.

According to the filing, the state is seeking the death penalty because it believes it "can prove beyond a reasonable doubt" that Nikolas Cruz, 19, was previously convicted of a capital felony, he knowingly created great risk of death to many persons, capital felony was committed during a burglary, capital felony was especially heinous or cruel and the capital felony was a homicide "committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification."

Some Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students took to Twitter after the announcement was made to voice their opinions on Cruz’s fate.

"No, this man should not be killed," Sarah Stricker wrote. "After what I saw, and heard, and losing my friends, he should not be let out that easy. He deserves to suffer." 

Cruz is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in connection with the mass shooting.

"Death by injection would be too easy in my eyes," Andrew Pollack told Local 10 News. "I'd rather him rot in prison the rest of his life."

Pollack is the father of Meadow Pollack, who was among the 14 students killed in the school massacre.

Meadow Pollack, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was killed in the Feb. 14 shooting at the school in Parkland.

"If I was able to dictate the method of death, then I would be for the death penalty," Andrew Pollack said.

Court records show that Cruz withdrew his not guilty plea on Thursday.

According to the document, a written plea of not guilty was filed before formal charges were brought against him.

Cruz's defense attorneys previously said their client would plead guilty if prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. The action by prosecutors Tuesday does not necessarily mean a plea deal will not be reached.

The only other penalty option for Cruz is life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Cruz now "stands mute" to the charges against him.

He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for an arraignment hearing.

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