Parkland shooter Cruz pleads guilty to 17 counts of murder, faces death penalty

Cruz also pleaded guilty to 17 counts of attempted murder in 2018 shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Updated: October 20, 2021 - 11:52am

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Gunman Nickolas Cruz on Wednesday pleaded guilty in a south Florida courtroom to 17 counts of murder for the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Cruz also pleaded guilty to 17 counts of attempted murder and faces a minimum of life in prison and maximum of the death penalty, according to CNN. The trial now enters the sentencing phase.

The guilty plea in court had been expected for several days.  

"I am very sorry for what I did, and I have to live with it every day," the 23-year-old Cruz said after his plea. "If I were to get a second chance, I would do everything in my power to try to help others. 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."

Cruz's defense team had long ago offered a guilty plea in exchange for life in prison without the possibility of parole but only if prosecutors removed the possibility of the death penalty, a deal they rejected.

The massacre, in which Cruz killed 17 students and faculty members and injured 17 others at the Parkland school, is the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history, CNN also reports.