NATIONAL NEWS

Judge Wants Early 2020 Trial In Florida School Shooting

Feb 21, 2019, 3:10 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:15 pm
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - APRIL 11: Nikolas Cruz, who could face the death penalty if convicted of murd...
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - APRIL 11: Nikolas Cruz, who could face the death penalty if convicted of murdering 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine's Day, appears in court in front of Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer for a hearing that may decide who will represent him in a bid to spare his life Wednesday, on April 11, 2018, in Broward Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Cruz, 19, is now represented by the Broward Public Defender's Office, which is funded by taxpayers to handle clients who cannot afford to hire their own lawyers. (Photo by Taimy Alvarez-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Taimy Alvarez-Pool/Getty Images)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Trial should begin in early 2020 for the suspect in a Florida high school massacre that left 17 people dead last year, a judge said at a hearing Thursday.

Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer said she intends to set a definitive trial date soon for 20-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who faces the death penalty if convicted. No exact date has yet been set, and even aiming for the first part of 2020 would be quick for such a high-profile murder case.

But Scherer told lawyers that would prevent things from getting bogged down.

“I’m asking both sides to take that into account. Pace yourselves,” she said. “I just ask you to keep that in mind as a goal moving forward.”

Assistant State Attorney Jeff Marcus said prosecutors and defense attorneys are working as rapidly as possible to identify and interview witnesses, sort through evidence and begin planning what would likely be the biggest trial in recent Broward County history — if not ever.

“It does give us a place to work toward,” Marcus said of the 2020 goal.

Cruz is accused of killing 17 and wounding 17 in the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. He is also accused of assaulting a jail corrections officer while in custody.

Cruz’s attorneys have said he will plead guilty in return for a life prison sentence, but prosecutors have refused that offer. Investigators say Cruz confessed to the shooting the day he was arrested and prosecutors released cellphone video of Cruz describing beforehand exactly what he planned to do at the school.

With the issue of guilt in little doubt, the trial would likely focus more on Cruz’s mental and emotional problems and fascination with violence, guns and death. Those issues also would play a central role in whether a jury chose to impose the death penalty.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

A sign hangs in the offices of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America(Photo by Mario Tama/Get...
Michael Houck, KSL-TV & Associated Press

Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Utah abortion ban

'We are forced into motherhood'; Planned Parenthood and the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Utah's trigger law banning most abortions in the state.
1 day ago
FILE...
Associated Press

Officer suspended for off-duty actions at abortion protest

A Rhode Island police officer has been suspended from his job with pay after allegedly punching a woman while off-duty.
1 day ago
A suspected land mine was removed from a Florida beach, according to police. (Credit: Indian River ...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

A suspected land mine was removed from a Florida beach

A suspected land mine was removed from a Florida beach, according to police.
1 day ago
FILE - This July 1, 2016, file photo shows Mega Millions lottery tickets on a counter at a Pilot tr...
Yenny Sanchez, CNN

South Carolina man wins $100,000 lottery after using strategy he saw on TV

A South Carolina man has won more than $100,000 after trying a lottery strategy inspired by an episode of TLC's 'Lottery Changed My Life.'
1 day ago
SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 16: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, answers a question at a news conference about t...
REBECCA BOONE, Associated Press

Inslee seeks abortion rights amendment to state constitution

Washington Gov. Inslee said he will push for a state constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights within his state's borders.
1 day ago
At least 150 cats were removed from a Winsted home in what police are calling a "cat hoarding" situ...
Evan Sobol & Eliza Kruczynski, WFSB

Police: At least 150 cats removed from Winsted home in ‘cat hoarding’ case

At least 150 cats were removed from a Connecticut home in what police are calling a “cat hoarding” situation.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Judge Wants Early 2020 Trial In Florida School Shooting