Florida prosecutors to seek death penalty for accused Parkland shooter

BREAKING: Prosecutors To Seek Death Penalty for Parkland Teen Shooter

Prosecutors to seek death penalty for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz

The former student accused of killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month will face the death penalty, prosecutors announced Tuesday. The only other penalty option for Cruz, if convicted, is life in prison with no possibility of parole.

In a statement last month, though, he said the attack at Stoneman Douglas High "certainly is the type of case the death penalty was designed for".

Those factors include the "heinous, atrocious and cruel" nature of the crime, and the "cold, calculated and premeditated" way it was carried out, as well as Cruz's prior criminal record.

This story will be updated.

Howard Finkelstein, the Broward public defender, has said it would be wrong for Cruz to be executed when authorities missed so many red flags and warning signs preceding the shooting.

He was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 attempted murders. While they continue to acknowledge that he carried out the rampage, they cannot plead guilty while Cruz could be sentenced to death, Finkelstein said Tuesday.

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Finklestein's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

"If we are not allowed to do so tomorrow, we will stand mute to the charges".

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

The shooting has sparked a fierce national debate over gun rights, with numerous student survivors vowing to push for gun control regulations so that the shooting they lived through might be the last.

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

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