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Judge delays sentencing trial for Nikolas Cruz to Feb. 21

Judge delays sentencing trial for Nikolas Cruz to Feb. 21
Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer on Wednesday issued an order pushing the start date for Nikolas Cruz's sentencing trial for the 2018 school shooting in Parkland until February 21. File Photo via Broward County Sheriff | License Photo

Dec. 29 (UPI) -- A Florida judge on Wednesday pushed back the start date of Nikolas Cruz's sentencing trial for the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer issued an order Wednesday delaying the trial date to Feb. 21 after it had previously been scheduled to begin in January.

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In the order, Scherer wrote that parties on both sides addressed the need for "additional time to prepare their experts for trial."

Cruz pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting, which left 14 students and three school staffers dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

When the trial arrives, jurors will convene to determine whether Cruz, 23, should be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.

Earlier this month, Scherer declined a request from the defense to take the death penalty off the table for sentencing.

In order to sentence Cruz to the death penalty all 12 jurors must agree with the sentence and Scherer will make the final determination.

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