Broward County

Prosecutor: Death penalty was ‘designed’ for cases like Florida school shooting

The 17 counts of premeditated murder against Nikolas Cruz are the type of case “the death penalty was designed for,” according to the Florida prosecutor in charge of trying the confessed school shooter.

But Michael Satz, the longtime Broward state attorney, said his office has not yet decided what punishment to seek against Cruz.

“Our office will announce our formal position at the appropriate time,” Satz said in a statement released Saturday morning.

On Friday, Cruz’s legal team said he would not contest guilt if prosecutors agreed not to ask for the death penalty.

“He committed this crime. Everybody saw it. Everybody knows it. He’s admitted it,” said Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein. “The crime is horrific and beyond words. This is going to come down to one issue — does he live, or does he die?”

The charges against Cruz, stemming from Wednesday’s deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, could result in a sentence of life in prison or execution. Cruz is known to have suffered from chronic depression, in addition to being diagnosed with autism and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, factors which may weigh into his defense strategy.

Satz’s full statement: “This event is absolutely horrific and tragic. Now is the time to let the families grieve and bury their children and loved ones. We are working this case with BSO, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. This certainly is the type of case the death penalty was designed for. This was a highly calculated and premeditated murder of 17 people and the attempted murder of everyone in that school. Our office will announce our formal position at the appropriate time.”

Nicholas Nehamas: 305-376-3745, @NickNehamas

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