Parkland School Shooter Pleads Guilty on All Charges
The gunman pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. Jury selection is scheduled for Jan. 4.
UPDATE 10/20/21 — The Parkland school shooter pleaded guilty Wednesday to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.
The gunman now faces a minimum of life in prison without the possibility of parole and the maximum of the death penalty, which will be decided by a jury in the upcoming sentencing phase of the trial, reports CNN. The prosecution has previously said they plan to seek the death penalty.
Jury selection is scheduled for Jan. 4.
PARKLAND, Fla. — Lawyers for the Parkland shooter who gunned down 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School said their client will plead guilty to all charges against him.
The gunman, a former student at the school, shot and killed 14 students and three staff members on Feb. 14, 2018. He will plead guilty to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, his defense attorney said Friday.
The shooter had a documented history of mental health and behavioral problems. He was able to legally buy the weapon that he used to carry out the attack.
The gunman was scheduled to appear in court later Friday to plead guilty in a separate case related to a Nov. 2018 fight with a jail guard when his plea change was announced, reports The New York Times. In that case, the shooter is accused of assaulting an officer and grabbing his electroshock weapon while he was being held in a Fort Lauderdale jail.
The shooter’s lawyer said he will ask the judge to impose 17 consecutive life sentences in place of the death penalty. Prosecutors previously indicated they would be pursuing the death penalty. Paula McMahon, a spokesperson for the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, said no plea agreement has been reached. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday for the shooter to change his plea.
Several parents who lost their children that day have spoken out following the announcement.
“My only comment is to remember the victims. Remember Jaime. Rather than talk about the murderer,” tweeted Fred Guttenberg, father of 14-year-old victim Jaime Guttenberg.
“I think it’s time to put some — speed it up a little bit. Every day is a new day that we suffer,” Manuel Oliver, father of 17-year-old victim Joaquin Oliver, told ABC News. “I can’t wait for this to be over so I can move on, at least without the weight of not knowing what’s gonna happen to this person.”
Oliver also said he is glad that pleading guilty does not remove the possibility of the death penalty.
“The death penalty that Joaquin received was four shots with an AR-15 in the middle of his school. With kids dropping on the floor and bleeding out, screaming. That’s how my son died. I don’t know if he suffered or if he died immediately. I will never know that,” he said. “That nightmare is not even close to what the worst punishment this guy will receive.”