Nikolas Cruz pleads responsible to killing 17 people in Parkland faculty taking pictures

Nikolas Cruz admitted to killing 17 people — together with some he shot as much as a dozen occasions — earlier than launching right into a weird rant.

Parkland faculty shooter Nikolas Cruz pleaded responsible Wednesday to killing 17 people within the 2018 bloodbath at his former highschool — earlier than apologising for the rampage and happening a weird rant about marijuana and racism.

“I am very sorry for what I did and I have to live with it every day,” Cruz, 23, instructed Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer.

“And that if I were to get a second chance, I would do everything in my power to try to help others. And I am doing this for you, and I don’t care if you do not believe me.”

Cruz, who eliminated his masks to talk, mentioned he was laid low with “nightmares” following the bloodbath and may’t “live with” himself typically. He was charged with 17 counts of first-degree homicide for gunning down 14 college students and three staffers on Feb. 14, 2018, utilizing an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where he had been expelled a 12 months earlier.

Some of the victims had been shot as many as 12 occasions, prosecutors mentioned.

“But I try to push through because I know that’s what you guys would want me to do,” Cruz continued.

“I hate drugs and I believe this country would do better if everyone would stop smoking marijuana and doing all these drugs and causing racism and violence out on the streets.”

Cruz had beforehand instructed investigators in 2018 that he was a heavy marijuana person and had heard voices in his head telling him to “burn, kill, destroy,” NBC News reported. He had additionally taken giant quantities of Xanax and mentioned he tried to kill himself two months earlier than the bloodbath – including that it wasn’t his first suicide strive.

Cruz then wrapped up his rambling mea culpa, saying he was attempting his greatest to take care of his composure.

“I just want you to know that I’m really sorry and I hope you give me a chance to try to help others,” the confessed mass assassin mentioned.

Tony Montalto, whose 14-year-old daughter Gina was killed within the onslaught, known as Cruz’s remarks an “absolutely ridiculous statement,” the Miami Herald reported.

“He’s doing it for our families?” Montalto instructed reporters after attending the listening to. “If you wanted to do something for our families, you shouldn’t have killed our loved ones.”

Tom Hoyer, whose 15-year-old son Luke was killed, mentioned Cruz solely had one particular person in thoughts with his assertion.

“Self-centred,” Hoyer mentioned. “Thinking about himself.”

Other family members of victims who sat within the courtroom broke down in tears or shook their heads as Cruz entered his pleas and spoke.

Cruz additionally pleaded responsible to 17 counts of first-degree tried homicide for wounding 17 others in the course of the bloodbath at the highschool exterior Fort Lauderdale. He was 19 on the time.

The responsible pleas now arrange a penalty trial throughout which jurors will decide whether or not he will be sentenced to dying or life in jail with out parole.

Scherer started the listening to by asking Cruz questions on his psychological health and whether or not he was underneath the affect of medicine or had been recognized with any sicknesses. He mentioned he was having some nervousness, however understood Scherer’s questions.

Scherer mentioned she accepted Cruz’s pleas within the case, in addition to a responsible plea in a separate case for attacking a Broward County jail guard 9 months after the bloodbath.

Cruz mentioned he believes the households of the victims ought to make the choice whether or not he lives or dies. But Scherer instructed him state legislation mandates that a jury make that ruling.

The penalty section is anticipated to start out with jury choice on Jan. 4.

Mitch Dworet, father of slain 17-year-old Nicholas Dworet, additionally attended the listening to. He instructed the Herald final week that Cruz deserved to die.

“We want him to get the death penalty,” Dworet mentioned final week after Cruz’s attorneys indicated he would change his plea within the high-profile case. “We want him to suffer.”

Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow was gunned down, was much more blunt as to how he thought the confessed killer needs to be punished following Wednesday’s listening to.

“Death by lethal injection seems too peaceful to me,” Pollack instructed the Associated Press. “I’d rather see a hanging in a public square.”

— New York Post

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