A Broward Circuit judge will attempt to accuse the suspect of committing a mass shooter at a high school in Parkland, Florida to begin in 2020.
Judge Elizabeth Scherer said in a hearing on Thursday that she has intend to close a final trial date soon for Nikolas Cruz. The 20-year-old allegedly opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on February 14, 2018, killing 17 people and injuring 17 others – a crime that investigators say he confessed.
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"I ask both sides to take this into account. Let yourself," said the judge. "I'm just asking you to keep that in mind as a goal ahead."
Assistant lawyer Jeff Marcus said prosecutors and defense lawyers are working as quickly as possible to identify and interview witnesses, sort through evidence and start planning what would probably be the biggest attempt in recent Broward County history ̵
"It gives us a place to work," said the Assistant Attorney on the 2020 target.
Lawyers for Cruz have said the former Stoneman Douglas student will plead guilty in return for a prison sentence, but prosecutors have denied the offer.
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Investigators claim Cruz, who is also accused of violating a prison correction officer in custody, confessed the shooting the day he was arrested. Prosecutors released cell phone movies from Cruz, which clarify in advance what he was planning to do in school.
Considering that he allegedly confessed, Cruz's attempts would probably focus more on his mental and emotional problems as well as his fascination with violence, weapons, and death. These issues will also play a key role in whether a jury chooses to impose the death penalty.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.