Nikolas Cruz, who murdered 17 students and adults more than three years ago at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., pleaded guilty to the killings in court Wednesday, but he may still face execution for his murderous rampage on Valentine’s Day 2018.
Published reports say his defense team had offered guilty pleas in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table, but prosecutors would not budge.
According to CNN, the now-23-year-old Cruz apologized to the victims, saying, “I have to live with it every day. If I were to get a second chance, I would do everything in my power to try to help others.”
That is not likely to happen, however, as the penalty phase will begin in January, after jury selection hearings are held in November and December, according to Fox News.
Cruz urged people to “stop smoking marijuana, doing all these drugs and causing racism and violence in the streets.”
The sensational crime ignited a national youth gun control movement, quickly exploited by billionaire-backed gun prohibition lobbying groups and the establishment media. It launched the “March for Our Lives” crusade, which was financially supported by wealthy elitists and celebrities, raising millions of dollars.
The rampage was also used as one of the factors in writing the extremist Washington state Initiative 1639, which was adopted by voters in November 2018. It prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing a so-called “semiautomatic assault rifle” (Cruz used an AR15, which he had purchased legally) and invented a definition for such a firearm that literally applies to any self-loading rifle ever manufactured anywhere in the world, including .22-caliber rimfires such as the Ruger 10/22, Marlin Model 60 and classic Remington Nylon 66. In reality, there is no such thing as a “semiautomatic assault rifle” and never has been, except on paper.
A federal lawsuit is currently slogging through the court system, supported by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association, challenging the constitutionality of the prohibition on Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds.
The Parkland school shooting was, according to CNN, “the deadliest high school shooting in US history.” Incredibly, there was a school resource officer on campus, but he remained outside of the building where the shooting occurred. The actual shooting took place in under seven minutes. Fourteen students and three adults were killed, and others were wounded.
Cruz, who managed to walk out of the building by mixing with students, was apprehended about an hour later. He was 19 at the time and had been barred from the campus.