The accused Parkland, Fla., school shooter appearing for an earlier court date.
Nikolas Cruz, who is suspected of shooting and killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018, will plead guilty to all 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder to avoid going to trial, FOX affiliate WSVN reports.
The 23-year-old’s defense team has previously said Cruz would plead guilty to all counts in exchange for a life sentence, but prosecutors have rejected the offer and indicated they would seek a death sentence.
Cruz is due back in court Friday, when his attorneys will announce his plea, according to WSVN .
The public defender’s office did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Florida school shooting defendant Nikolas Cruz speaks with attorney Gabe Ermine in Judge Elizabeth Scherer’s courtroom at the Broward County Courthouse, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)
He is also facing one count of attempted criminal battery on a law enforcement officer and three lesser charges, stemming from an alleged jailhouse attack on Sgt. Raymond Beltran in November 2018.
Cruz was in court earlier this month for those charges during a preliminary stage of jury selection. Three people have broken out in tears at the mere sight of him.
In this image taken Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018 by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Nikolas Cruz points his fingers to his temple in an interrogation room while officers are out of the room, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Broward County Sheriff’s Office via Associated Press)
On Valentine’s Day in 2018, Cruz allegedly entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School armed with a rifle, gas mask and smoke grenades and set off a fire alarm to draw people out of classrooms.
He allegedly shot and killed 14 students and three staffers at the school before being apprehended about a mile away without a fight in a residential neighborhood.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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