A Florida man pleaded guilty to killing 17 people in a mass shooting in 2018 on a high school campus in Parkland, Florida.
Nikolas Cruz, 23, also pleaded guilty to 17 counts of attempted murder for those he injured in the attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Address the possibility of the death penalty or life imprisonment.
One of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, the incident has become a rallying cry for gun control activists.
Mr. Cruz was 19 when he killed 14 students and three employees with an AR-15 rifle at his former school. Another 17 people were injured.
In court on Wednesday, Judge Elizabeth Scherer asked Mr. Cruz how he pleaded with each murder.
The case will now move to a criminal trial in which jurors must determine whether Cruz will be spared the death penalty to face life in prison without parole.
Judge Scherer said he hoped the case – for which thousands of jurors will have to be examined – could begin in January.
Lawyers representing Mr. Cruz had repeatedly stated that he would plead guilty if the death penalty was not considered. Last week, his attorney, David Wheeler, told the judge that Cruz’s lawyers were asking the court to impose 17 consecutive life sentences for the massacre.
The offer was rejected by prosecutors, who in previous court documents had stated that they would seek his execution and prove that the crime “was particularly heinous, heinous or cruel.”
Last week, Cruz pleaded guilty to a separate charge of attempted aggravated beatings and three other felonies resulting from an attack on a prison guard nine months after the shooting.
In a hearing on Friday, he acknowledged that his conviction for the assault in prison could become an “aggravating factor” in determining whether he will be executed.
Mr. Cruz was expelled from school in 2017. Students and staff later described him as an “outcast” and troublemaker.
He was previously investigated by local police and the Department of Child and Family Services after posting evidence of self-harm on the Snapchat app.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) later admitted that it did not adequately follow up a tip about Mr. Cruz the month before the shooting.
Many of the survivors of the shooting became prominent advocates of reform of the gun legislation and called for action to be taken to prevent similar incidents.
In an event to mark the third anniversary of the shooting in February, US President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass gun law reforms, including a ban on assault weapons and an end to legal immunity for manufacturers. of weapons.
“We owe it to everyone we have lost and to everyone who has been left behind to suffer to make a change,” Biden said. “The time to act is now.”
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