FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Now formally facing the death penalty, the suspect in the Valentine's Day school shooting that killed 17 people in Florida is headed for a court appearance on a 34-count indictment.
An arraignment hearing is scheduled Wednesday afternoon for 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. His attorneys said he will plead guilty to all charges if the death penalty is not pursued. However, prosecutors filed a formal notice Tuesday they will indeed seek capital punishment.
Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said Cruz is "immediately ready" to plead guilty in return for 34 consecutive life sentences but not with the death penalty on the table.
Cruz will likely enter no plea. If so, the presiding judge will enter a not guilty plea on his behalf