The gunman who carried out the worst high school shooting in U.S. history pleaded guilty to 17 charges of murder and 17 charges of attempted murder on Wednesday (October 20). A jury will now decide if Nikolas Cruz, 23, will spend the rest of his life behind bars or if he will be executed for his horrific crimes.
After pleading guilty to all 34 counts, Cruz apologized for killing 14 students and three staff members and injuring 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.
"I am very sorry for what I did, and 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," he said. "I am doing this for you, and I do not care if you do not believe me. And I love you, and I know you don't believe me, but I have to live with this every day, and it brings me nightmares, and I can't live with myself sometimes, but I try to push through because I know that's what you guys would want me to do.
Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer wants to begin screening potential jurors for the penalty phase in November and hopes that proceedings can begin in January.