Florida prose­cu­tors seek­ing death penalty in school shoot­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -


PROSE­CU­TORS IN­TEND to seek the death penalty for the for­mer stu­dent charged with killing 17 peo­ple at Mar­jor y Stone­man Dou­glas High School last month even though at­tor­neys for Niko­las Cruz in­di­cated he would plead guilty if his life was spared.

Cruz, 19, is sched­uled for for­mal ar­raign­ment Wed­nes­day on a 34-count indic tment, in­clud­ing 17 first-de­gree mur­der charges. The of­fice of Broward County State At­tor­ney Michael Satz filed the for­mal no­tice of its in­ten­tions Tues­day, though the ac­tion does not nec­es­sar­ily mean a plea deal will not be reached.

The only other penalty op­tion for Cruz, if con­victed, is life in prison with no pos­si­bil­ity of pa­role.

Ira Jaffe, whose son and daugh­ter sur­vived the shoot­ing, said he re­spects the wishes of the 17 fam­i­lies whose chil­dren were killed and that time is bet­ter spent find­ing so­lu­tions to the prob­lem of mass school shoot­ings.

“Live for­ever in jail or die - I don’t care,” Jaffe said in an email. “Cruz will rot in hell no mat­ter when it is that he ar­rives there.”

Fred Gut­ten­berg, whose daugh­ter Jamie Gut­ten­berg died in the shoot­ing, was an­gry the state de­cided to pur­sue the death penalty, not­ing how tor­tu­ously long cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment cases last.

“My re­ac­tion is, as a par­ent of a de­ceased stu­dent, I ex­pected that the state would have pulled the par­ents to­gether to ask what we wanted, and they didn’t,” he said.

Niko­las Cruz

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