Prosecutors Want Trial Date in Parkland School Shooting - NBC 6 South Florida
Parkland School Tragedy

Parkland School Tragedy

Marking One Year Since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting

Prosecutors Want Trial Date in Parkland School Shooting

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    NEWSLETTERS

    MSD Commission Releases Report and Recommendations

    It was nine months of hard work for everyone on the MSD safety commission, but particularly grueling for the two commission members who are MSD parents. Max Schachter lost his son, Alex, in the massacre and Ryan Petty lost his daughter, Alaina.

    (Published Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019)

    What to Know

    • 20-year-old Nikolas Cruz faces first-degree murder and attempted murder charges in the Valentine's Day 2018 shooting.

    Prosecutors pushed a judge Tuesday to set a trial date this fall for Nikolas Cruz in the 2018 Valentine's Day Florida school massacre that killed 17 people.

    At a hearing, Assistant State Attorney Jeff Marcus said the case is fairly uncomplicated despite its notoriety and magnitude. He asked Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer to schedule the death penalty trial for Cruz in September.

    "We are coming up on the anniversary of this incident. Justice requires that this case be resolved as quickly as it can," Marcus said. "It's a pretty straightforward case that does not require years and years to prepare for."

    Judge Scherer, however, said she is reluctant to move that quickly, with Cruz's lawyers contending they still have large amounts of evidence to review and dozens of witnesses to interview. Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill said there are more than 300 frontline witnesses on the prosecution's list and added that capital cases in Broward County typically take two years or more to get to trial.

    Another BSO Deputy Under Investigation for MSD Shooting Response

    [MI] Another BSO Deputy Under Investigation for MSD Shooting Response

    A third Broward Sheriff’s deputy is now being investigated for his response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a response that can be seen on his body camera footage. The footage of Deputy Joshua Stambaugh putting on his ballistic vest as the final gunshots rang out from the 1200 building at the Parkland school was singled out in the report released Wednesday by a state commission, an example they found of poor response by deputies.

    (Published Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019)

    "We have to do everything we have to do and depose every witness so that we are effective in our representation of Mr. Cruz. There's higher standards of due process," McNeill said.

    Scherer instead set another status hearing for Feb. 21 and urged both sides to work as quickly as possible.

    "We need to keep moving forward," she said. "I just want to work through this as efficiently as we can."

    Cruz, 20, is charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. His attorneys have said he will plead guilty in exchange for a life prison sentence, but prosecutors have rejected that offer.

    Cruz sat silently at the defense table during the hearing, his once unruly hair now closely cropped. He also was wearing oversized glasses.

    Separately, Cruz's younger brother Zachary got a green light from a federal judge in his lawsuit accusing the Broward Sheriff's Office of harassment and targeting after he was arrested while skateboarding at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shortly after the shooting. Zachary Cruz claims he was treated unfairly, including an unreasonable bail set at $500,000, was required to wear a restraint vest 24 hours a day and was subjected to sleep deprivation tactics in jail.

    The sheriff's office has denied that Zachary Cruz, who attended his brother's hearing Tuesday, was badly treated. Zachary Cruz was eventually released on probation with conditions such as keeping away from the high school.

    The judge's ruling means Zachary Cruz's lawsuit can proceed toward a possible trial.

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