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Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz facing death penalty

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 13/3/2018 Tom Powell

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the teenager charged with the fatal shooting of 17 people at a Florida high school.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, admitted carrying out the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine’s Day.

His attack, the deadliest US school shooting since 2012, has reignited debates about gun control.

The office of Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz filed a formal notice on Tuesday, indicating they would seek the death penalty.

"The capital felony was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretence of moral or legal justification," it read.

Cruz’s lawyers have said he will plead guilty if the death penalty is not pursued. The only other penalty option is life in prison with no possibility of parole.

"We still stand ready to immediately plead guilty to 34 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole," said Howard Finkelstein, a county public defender.

"We are not saying he is not guilty but we can't plead guilty while death is still on the table.”

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