Nikolas Cruz intends to plead guilty to Parkland shooting charges, his lawyer says

Nikolas Cruz intends to plead guilty to charges stemming from the February 2018 massacre at South Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — the deadliest high school shooting in US history — his attorney said Friday in court.

The plea would come more than three and a half years after the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland that left 17 students and faculty members dead and injured 17 others.

Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer set a change of plea hearing for Wednesday morning.

Also Friday, Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty to charges related to a November 2018 jail assault.

In the school shooting, Cruz is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first degree.

A not guilty plea was previously entered on Cruz’s behalf in the shooting, though he had confessed to police, according to a probable cause affidavit.

His defense team had long ago offered a guilty plea in exchange for life in prison without the possibility of parole — but only if prosecutors took the death penalty off the table. Prosecutors had rejected that, saying they were seeking the death penalty. That raised the prospect of a lengthy trial.

The shooting spawned a massive national protest movement against gun violence in American schools.

Some survivors and victims’ relatives became widely recognized for speaking out and confronting lawmakers to plead for gun control reform. Other students in the US joined the cause, staging their own protests and school walkouts in the months after the massacre.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.