Florida prosecutors will seek the death penalty for the Florida teen accused of killing 17 people in a shooting rampage at a Parkland high school.
"The state intends to seek the death penalty against defendant Nikolas Cruz," Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz said in court papers filed Tuesday.
The papers include a list of "aggravating factors" that warrant death, noting that the killings were "especially heinous, or cruel" and committed in a "cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification."
Cruz, 19, faces arraignment Wednesday on 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 more of attempted murder in the Feb. 14 shooting spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Wednesday also marks one month since the carnage in Parkland, and students at more than 2,500 schools across the nation are planning a walkout at 10 a.m. in homage.
Lawyers for Cruz have repeatedly said he would plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life in prison. After the filing, Cruz's attorneys repeated their offer.
"We still stand ready to immediately plead guilty to 34 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole," Howard Finkelstein, a county public defender, wrote in an email to Reuters. "If we are not allowed to do so tomorrow, we will stand mute to the charges. We are not saying he is not guilty, but we can't plead guilty while death is still on the table."
County officials last week released a timeline assembled with information from surveillance cameras, 911 calls and radio dispatches. It indicates that Cruz arrived at the school via Uber at 2:19 p.m. ET. The suspect entered the freshman building about two minutes later and began shooting.
At 2:22 p.m. the fire alarm sounded and the first 911 calls were made, according to the timeline.
“Be advised we have possible, could be firecrackers. I think we have shots fired, possible shots fired —1200 building,” Peterson radioed one minute later, adding at 2: 25 p.m.: "We also heard it’s by, inside the 1200.”
The timeline reveals that the suspect tossed his gun aside at 2:27 p.m. and walked out amid other fleeing students before officers ever entered.
Cruz wandered into a nearby Walmart, then a McDonald's before being apprehended while walking down a street about an hour after the tragedy unfolded.