'It Brings Me Nightmares': Parkland Shooter Nikolas Cruz Pleads Guilty in 2018 High School Rampage
14:22 GMT 20.10.2021 (Updated: 13:25 GMT 06.08.2022)
Cruz killed 14 students and three staff members on 14 February 2018, during a seven-minute shooting spree at a Florida high school.
Nikolas Cruz has pleaded guilty to murder in a 2018 shooting rampage at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
After pleading guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, Cruz told families of the victims: "I'm very sorry for what I did and I have to live with it every day. I am doing this for you. I love you and I know you don't believe me but I have to live with this everyday. And if I were to get a second chance, I would do everything in my power to try and help others ... and it brings me nightmares and I can't live with myself sometimes".
He was charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for those injured in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on 14 February 2018.
The gunman's legal team had suggested a guilty plea in exchange for life imprisonment without the possibility of parole a long time ago. The only condition was for the prosecutors to take capital punishment off the table. The offer was rejected by the prosecutors, who were pursuing the death penalty for him.
Cruz had previously pleaded not guilty to 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first degree. It was reported last week that he was going to change his plea to guilty.
The guilty plea will now pave the way for a penalty trial in which 12 jurors will establish whether Cruz should be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole. Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer is expected to screen thousands of prospective jurors. Hearings are set for November and December, in hopes to kick off testimony in January.
On 14 February 2018, Nikolas Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and started shooting students and staff indiscriminately. The shooting claimed the lives of 17 people and left 17 more wounded. After his rifle jammed, Cruz left the school but was later apprehended by police.