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Judge delays start of Parkland shooting trial

By Danielle Haynes
Nikolas Cruz's lawyers said they needed more time to prepare for his trial on 17 counts of first-degree murder. File Photo via Broward County Sheriff/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/597b3efc6729aeb4d2956f439181be81/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Nikolas Cruz's lawyers said they needed more time to prepare for his trial on 17 counts of first-degree murder. File Photo via Broward County Sheriff/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 19 (UPI) -- A South Florida judge on Thursday delayed the start of a trial for the accused gunman in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018 that left 17 people dead.

Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer ordered the trial for Nikolas Cruz to be delayed until at least the summer. The trial was originally scheduled to begin in January.

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Cruz faces 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the shooting on Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Cruz's lawyers requested the delay, saying they needed more time to prepare.

"We are doing everything we can to get this case to trial," Broward Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill said in court.

Scherer agreed, saying the January start date was impractical. She said the new date must be scheduled during a calendar call on March 23.

"I don't want to hear that the parties are busy during the summer months," the judge said. "This case is going to be tried in the summer."

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