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Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Florida shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz

Business Insider | Mar 13, 2018, 11.26PM IST

nikolas cruz

South Florida Sun-Sentinel via Associated Press

Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

  • Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for suspected Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz.
  • The Broward State Attorney filed a notice of intent on Tuesday, ABC News reported.
  • Cruz will be formally arraigned on Wednesday. He faces 34 charges, including 17 counts of first-degree murder.

Florida prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old man accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school last month, according to a notice of intent filed by Broward State Attorney Michael Satz.

A grand jury indicted Cruz on 34 counts, including 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder.

He has been held in the Broward County Jail without bond since the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school.

His attorneys withdrew his not guilty plea on Friday, and Cruz now "stands mute" to the charges.

Standing mute has the same legal effect as pleading not guilty, but in Cruz's case could be part of a legal strategy as his attorneys prepare for a potential death-penalty trial.

His previous not guilty plea indicated that Cruz denied his alleged role in the shooting, even though the evidence against him is overwhelming and Cruz himself has confessed to authorities, they say.

But standing mute neither denies nor confirms the allegations, and allows his defense attorneys to proceed without appearing to disrespect the victims.

Cruz is set to be formally arraigned on Wednesday.

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