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Parkland school gunman Nikolas Cruz to change plea to guilty on all charges

By Jake Thomas
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Parkland school gunman Nikolas Cruz to change plea to guilty on all charges
Nikolas Jacob Cruz intends to change his plea to guilty for killing 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, his attorneys said in court Friday. File Photo via Broward County Sheriff/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The man who killed 14 students and three staffers in the Parkland school shooting attack three years ago will plead guilty to charges of first-degree murder in a bid to escape the death penalty, defense attorneys said Friday.

Attorneys for Nikolas Cruz told a Florida court that he will formally enter the plea next Wednesday.

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Cruz, 23, will plead guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder in the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., as well as 17 counts of attempted murder.

Cruz, a former student at the school, was 19 at the time of the attack and legally bought the semiautomatic weapon he used in the shooting.

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The shooting led to a national movement for greater gun controls and is the highest-profile school attack in years.

The parents of one victim sued the federal government last year, accusing the FBI of failing to act after agents were tipped off about Cruz's potential to be violent.

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

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Prosecutors in the case have long vowed to seek the death penalty for Cruz. It wasn't clear Friday whether they have agreed to drop that pursuit in exchange for Cruz's plea.

Cruz appeared in court briefly on Friday and pleaded guilty to other charges in a separate case related to a fight with a sheriff's deputy while in jail.

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