Ex-MSD Deputy Scot Peterson to be Released After Getting Bond Reduced

Retired Broward County school resource deputy Scot Peterson spent the last two nights in jail, but will reportedly post bond Thursday after his attorneys argued that he should be released on his personal recognizance.

Peterson faces seven felony counts of child neglect, one for each student under 18 who died or was injured on the third floor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school building where 17 died in February 2018.

He also is charged with three misdemeanors of culpable negligence for adult victims on the third floor — an area prosecutors believe the shooter would not have reached had Peterson entered the building when he could have and confronted the killer.

Peterson was scheduled to post bond on Thursday after Judge Elizabeth Scherer - the same judge that is overseeing the trial of confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz - reduced the bond on all counts to a total of $39,500, down from the initial $102,000 that was issued shortly after Peterson's arrest.

Scherer also said Peterson will not be under house arrest since he lives in North Carolina - where his passport currently was. Lawyers for the former deputy said it will arrive in South Florida at some point Thursday night while Scherer gave lawyers 48 hours to turn it in.

He also faces a misdemeanor perjury charge for allegedly lying to investigators about how many gunshots he heard after he took cover 75 feet away from the building and remained there for 48 minutes while victims lay dead or dying inside.

Peterson's lawyers argued in a strongly worded 14-page motion, the state cannot charge Peterson with child neglect because he is not a caregiver under the law.

Only parents, adults in a child's household and others responsible for a child's welfare are caregivers under Florida law, they argue, and a law enforcement officers on a campus of thousands cannot possibly be held criminally liable for any harm that befalls any one of them.

"The state's legal theory cannot withstand and serious legal scrutiny," they wrote.

But prosecutors say he had a duty to protect students and staff once he knew a shooter was inside the building — and he radioed that he herald shots being fired in the building soon after he arrived there, one minute before the killer reached the third floor.

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