“The only question is does he live or does he die.”
Prosecutors announced Tuesday they intend to seek the death penalty for the 19-year-old gunman who killed 17 people at a Florida high school in February.
Killer Nikolas Cruz is scheduled for a formal arraignment Wednesday on a 34-count indictment after he opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day.
The troubled teenager’s lawyer previously said Cruz would plead guilty if the death penalty was not on the table, Fox News reported. A plea deal could, however, still be reached, but the only other option would be life in prison without the possibility of parole.
When Cruz initially pleaded guilty in February, Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein said, “Everybody knows who committed the crime and that the only question is does he live or does he die.”
The prosecutors’ decision comes after it was revealed Cruz told a school therapist in 2014 that he dreamed of “killing people” and being “covered in blood.” In fact, the teenager’s obsession with violence was well-documented for two years, from when he was 15 to 17 years old.
Nevertheless, law enforcement “ignored the warnings” repeatedly, according to The Miami Herald .
Both the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI failed when it came to Cruz and the February attack. The federal agency ignored warning calls weeks before the mass shooting and the sheriff’s deputy charged with protecting the Parkland school failed to enter the building while the assault was underway.