It’s Wednesday, October 20th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - Over three years after the mass shooting that took the lives of 17 students and staff inside a Parkland high school, the man who confessed to pulling the trigger is expected to plead guilty in a Broward County courtroom Wednesday.
Nikolas Cruz will enter the plea on 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for the February 14, 2018 tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The guilty plea would set up a penalty phase where Cruz, 23, would be fighting against the death penalty and hoping for life without parole. The pleas will come with no conditions and prosecutors still plan to seek the death penalty. That will be decided by a jury, with Judge Elizabeth Scherer expecting to start the trial in January after choosing a jury from thousands of prospects starting in November. Cruz said he understood that prosecutors can use the conviction as an aggravating factor when they later argue for his execution.
No. 2 - An 18-year-old charged in the fatal shooting of a Hollywood police officer made his first appearance in court Tuesday where he was ordered held without bond.
Jason Banegas wore a protective vest during his appearance before Broward Judge Tabitha Blackmon. Banegas is facing felony murder, armed burglary, battery on a law enforcement officer, carrying a concealed firearm violation, grand theft of a firearm, and resisting arrest with violence in the Sunday night incident that left Officer Yandy Chirino dead. Authorities said the 28-year-old Chirino was shot during an altercation with Banegas after responding to a call of a suspicious incident. Residents of the neighborhood where the shooting happened said they'd seen Banegas riding through the neighborhood on a bicycle trying to open car doors not long before the altercation.
No. 3 - The parents of slain Florida college student Miya Marcano have filed a lawsuit against the property manager and apartment complex where she lived and worked and against the estate of the man who authorities said killed her before taking his own life.
The lawsuit was filed Monday night by parents Marlon Marcano and Yma Su-Ling Scarbriel against the owner of the Arden Villas Apartments, the manager of the property, and the estate of Armando Caballero. Miya Marcano went missing on Sept. 24, shortly before she was expected to fly from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale to see family. The 19-year-old's body was found on Oct. 2, five days after her suspected killer, Caballero, was found dead of an apparent suicide. Marcano was a Valencia College student who lived and worked at the Arden Villas, where Caballero, 27, was employed as a maintenance worker. Marcano had repeatedly “rebuffed” romantic advances by Caballero, authorities said.
No. 4 - Federal regulators are expected to authorize the mixing and matching of COVID-19 booster shots this week in an effort to provide flexibility for those seeking to maintain protection against the coronavirus.
The upcoming announcement by the Food and Drug Administration, which was first reported by The New York Times and later confirmed by NBC News, is likely to come along with authorization for boosters of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots and follows the authorization of a third dose for the Pfizer vaccine for many Americans last month. The move was previewed Tuesday by a U.S. health official familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly ahead of the announcement. The FDA was expected to say that, especially for the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna that have proved most effective against the virus, maintaining consistency in the vaccine course was still preferable. The agency was still finalizing guidance for the single-shot J&J vaccine.
No. 5 - In an exclusive interview with NBC Nightly News, former Miami police chief Art Acevedo said he did not regret pushing for a vaccine mandate within the department.
Acevedo’s stance on vaccines was one of several factors which led to low morale in the department, which eventually led to a vote of “no confidence” from the union and his termination from the city. Miami city manager Art Noriega said Acevedo overstepped his authority, hinting in a local interview officer’s jobs may be on the line without getting vaccinated. In the interview, Acevedo said he’d support going to court against Gov. Ron DeSantis’s administration over it, which also irked city manager Noriega because the city manager, city commission, and city attorney are the ones who decide to take a case to court.
No. 6 - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so Broward Health in Fort Lauderdale set up an interactive display and view inside a woman's body.
The interactive exhibit highlights early detection and treatment. It hit close to home for Hamatie Sahadeo, who skipped her mammogram for two years, until last June when she was feeling extra tired and a biopsy showed breast cancer. To hear how the exhibit hit close to home for Sahaedo and others, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Claudia Docampo.
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