FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The trial of Parkland college shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz was postponed Thursday until next summer, if he’ll face a death penalty situation stemming from the February 2018 massacre that left 17 individuals dead.
Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer consented to postpone the trial’s beginning in the first Jan. 27 date following defense lawyers pleaded for more time and prosecutors said they were eager to take a couple of months’ delay”in an abundance of caution,” based on one of the court filings.
“I am not going to put out it forever,” Scherer said in a hearing. “This situation will be attempted this summer sooner or later.”
defense lawyers for Cruz also stated they don’t need a protracted delay but only need additional time to get ready for an instance of such size.
“We only need to place something which’s fair,” said Melisa McNeill, an assistant public defender representing Cruz. “We’d love to get this case solved by the close of the year. This has always been our objective.”
Scherer didn’t establish yet another particular trial date but did program a March 23 hearing to ascertain how the case is progressing.
Cruz, 21, confronts 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder at the Valentine’s Day 2018 massacre in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He faces the death penalty if convicted, though his lawyers say he will plead guilty in exchange for a lifetime prison sentence, an offer rejected by prosecutors.
In their motion for a continuance, defense attorneys noted that of 38 capital punishment cases in Broward County because 1994, the normal time they stayed pending involving arrest and trial was 52 months, or a bit more than four decades.
On the current program, Cruz’s trial could start less than two decades following the mass shooting Feb. 14, 2018. He had been arrested that exact same day. Defense attorneys say that’s much too quickly to allow them to adequately prepare a defense in a situation of such size.
The defense motion also points out that there are 1,000 witnesses identified by prosecutors from the situation, and every one of them have to be interviewed by Cruz’s attorneys. There are approximately 4 thousand pages of signs and thousands of photographs, videos and societal networking posts.
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