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‘Should This Young Man Live or Should He Die by Execution?’

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‘Should This Young Man Live or Should He Die by Execution?’

Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz is willing to plead guilty if it means he won’t face the death penalty, his top public defender said on Friday.

Cruz, 19, is accused of premeditated murder after admitting he gunned down 14 students and three adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday.

Aside from a life without parole sentence, the shooter also wants to spare the community from reliving details of the tragedy in a trial, Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said, CNN reported.

Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said there's no question Cruz was the shooter - the question is whether he should die

The lawyer added there’s no question Cruz was the gunman, and that no one would benefit from ‘a circus trial’.

‘There is only one question: Should this young man live or should he die by execution?’ Finkelstein asked, according to the Sun Sentinel.

The decision to spare Cruz from the death penalty has to be reached by both the defense and prosecution teams.

State Attorney Michael J. Satz said on Saturday that although ‘certainly this is the type of case the death penalty was designed for,’ now is the time ‘to let the families grieve and bury their children and loved ones,’ and they will announce the prosecution’s position at the appropriate time.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, has admitted to shooting dead 14 students and three adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday
Cruz (above being apprehended on Wednesday afternoon) had been on the FBI's radar since at least September after he posted a YouTube comment that stated: 'I'm going to be a professional school shooter'

The shooter, who is being held without bond, will next appear in court on Monday.

Authorities missed multiple red flags before Cruz, a deeply troubled ‘loner’ who was expelled last year for ‘fighting over his ex-girlfriend’, opened fire on his high school.

The first came back in September when they were alerted to a comment made by YouTube user ‘Nikolas Cruz’ proclaiming his desire to be a ‘professional school shooter.’

At the same time he was posting photos to his public social media account which showed off an arsenal of weapons, including multiple semi-automatic guns.

All this, along with the fact that he had know mental health struggles and three school expulsions, was not enough to land Cruz on the FBI’s radar.

YouTube vlogger Ben Bennight alerted the FBI to a comment shared by Cruz on one of his videos back in September, when the boy wrote: ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter.’

The shooter, who is being held without bond, will next appear in court on Monday (Cruz is pictured with assistant public defender Melissa McNeill on Thursday)
Authorities missed multiple red flags before Cruz, a deeply troubled 'loner' , opened fire on his high school

Bennight revealed that the FBI was quick to respond to the concerning statement, arriving at his office the very next day to find out if he knew anything about the young man.

That was after he called a local field agent, revealing that his initial attempts to send in a screengrab of the comment failed when the email address he found listed on the federal agency’s website came back with a domain error saying that it did not exist.

He finally heard back from the FBI on Wednesday, when they called with some additional questions after 17 people were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

On Thursday, Special Agent Rob Laskey revealed that the the agency was unable to learn anything about the person who posted the comment.

‘No other information was included with that comment which would indicate a time, location, or the true identity of the person who made the comment,’ said Laskey.

‘The FBI conducted data reviews, checks, but was unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment.’

Students who knew Cruz have also been speaking out, including one young man who wrote: ‘Nick attacked one of my friends once. He brought shotgun shells to school and made many threats against others. He had an insta full of pictures of dead animals that he killed.’

Cruz posted multiple images of himself holding guns and wearing facemasks to his Instagram page (Cruz's Instagram page above)

The teen, who wrote that his parents had prohibited him from giving interviews, added: ‘Mental illness needs to be recognized or things like this happen. People i know are f***ing dead.’

Cruz was not attending Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at the time of the massacre, having been expelled for disciplinary reasons during the 2016-17 school year.

It was at least the third time that Cruz had been forced to leave a learning institution, and came at a particularly difficult time in his life.

Cruz, who has a younger brother Zachary, lost his mother Lynda back in November as a result of complications from the flu.

The 68-year-old mother-of-two developed a case of pneumonia shortly after checking herself in to receive treatment for the seasonal sickness.

His father Roger died of a heart attack back in 2005, just a few years after he and wife Lynda adopted Nikolas and his brother Zachary.

 

PICTURED: Fourteen students, geography teacher, coach and athletic director shot dead in Florida high school massacre

Jaime Guttenberg, 14, was described by relatives as a 'kind-hearted, sweet' girl. She attended the school with her younger brother who survived and rushed home afterwards
Senior Nicholas Dworet was a gifted swimmer who had his sights set on 2020 Tokyo Olympics success. His devastated college student girlfriend is among those grieving his death. Friends said he was not just a talented athlete, but a 'good guy' who will be missed
Martin Duque, 14, was missing for hours on Wednesday and his frantic family desperately appealed for him to get in touch on social media. On Thursday, his older brother Miguel confirmed his death. Martin was a freshman
Meadow Pollack, 18, was preparing for college. Her father was at the school on Wednesday and showed her photograph around in the hope that she would be found alive
Alyssa Alhadeff, 15, (seen right) was eulogized by her mother who said she was a talented soccer player and creative mind. 'All she had to offer the world was love... I just sent her to school and she was shot and killed,' she said
Alyssa Alhadeff, 15, was eulogized by her mother who said she was a talented soccer player and creative mind. 'All she had to offer the world was love... I just sent her to school and she was shot and killed,' she said
Luke Hoyer, 15, was described as a 'precious' child by his grandparents who confirmed his death. They found out about the shooting on television. They said he was a 'good kid' who 'never got in trouble'
Joaquin Oliver, 17, was also killed. Joaquin was a Venezuelan immigrant who came to the US with his family for a 'better future', they said on Thursday
Gina Montalto, 15, was described as a 'light and joy'. She and Jaime, another victim, volunteered at a local project called The Friendship Initiative where they acted as buddies for children with special needs. Gina's mother Jennifer shared pleas to find her on social media on Wednesday
Alaina Petty, 14, was also killed. Her Mormon church confirmed her death, saying she was a 'valiant' member
Carmen Schentrup, 16, was also killed in the shooting. Carmen was a gifted student who last year was named as a semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. It includes students who score above average in their SATs or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
ROTC student Peter Wang, 15, also died. His parents speak little English and relied on their neighbor to post social media appeals looking for him. They went to the Marriott hotel with other parents to wait for news of him on Wednesday night and have since confirmed that he was among those killed
Alex Schachter, 14, was also killed.  His mother died when he was a child and he attended the school in Florida with his brother, who survived. The teenager's father Max said he was a 'sweetheart of a child' who 'just wanted to do well and please his parents'
Helena Ramsey, 17, was described by relatives as a 'reserved' and studious girl who was due to go to college next year
Geography Scott Beigel, 35, was shot dead as he tried to lock the door of his classroom again after letting a group of fleeing students in to hide. They were running away from the gunman.
Aaron Feis, 37, died acting as a human shield. The track coach had thrown himself on top of the kids to stop the bullets from hitting him. He was a former student and was also a security guard at the school where he had worked for eight years
Athletic director Chris Hixon, 49, was also killed shielding students

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