With his nose busted and his eyes noticeably blackened, suspected Parkland School shooter Nikolas Cruz appeared in Florida court on Wednesday afternoon, where the start date of his high-profile trial was tentatively confirmed by a judge.
Cruz, 20, appeared to have suffered some form of injury to his nose since his last appearance in court, with a bandage placed over its bridge along with two black lines beneath the base of his eyes.
Relatively emotionless through much of the hearing, Cruz, who is accused of killing 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine’s Day last year, is set to be put on trial on January 20, 2020.
Restrained at the ankles and wrists with a chain tied around his back, Cruz raised a low hand to address the Broward County Courtroom earlier today.
With his nose busted and his eyes noticeably blackened, suspected Parkland School shooter Nikolas Cruz appeared in Florida court on Wednesday afternoon
Restrained at the ankles and wrists with a chain tied around his back, Cruz raised a low hand to address the Broward County Courtroom
He stood and spoke for himself under oath for the first time, forgoing his typical tradition of allowing his public defenders to speak on his behalf as he has done in previous court appearances.
Sporting unkempt hair, Cruz told presiding Judge Elizabeth Scherer he wanted to waive his right to appear at future status hearings about his case, though said he was aware he may still be required to attend more substantiate hearings.
When asked, Cruz simply responded ‘Yes’, that he understood he was giving up a right by filing the request to the judge.
Scherer asked Cruz to clarify that he was of sound mind to make such a decision, one not plagued by medication that could potential alter his decision.
‘I fully understand what you’re saying,’ Cruz told the judge.
Watching on from the gallery, Cruz’s brother Zachary was spotted among the sea of faces in the pews behind.
Much like his sibling, Zachary was sporting previously unseen facial markings of his own: two small suggestive tattoos on either side of his face, with a peace symbol on the left, and a broken heart on the right.
Watching on from the gallery, Cruz’s brother Zachary was spotted among the sea of faces in the pews behind
Much like his brother, Zachary was sporting previously unseen facial markings of his own: two small tattoos on either side of his face, with a peace symbol on the left, and a broken heart on the right
Cruz’s legal team of public defenders attempted to push back on Scherer’s tentative trial date, arguing they needed more than the provided six-months to conduct their investigation, carry out depositions and interview some 300 witnesses.
‘We certainly don’t want to create an unrealistic expectation in this community,” Melisa McNeill one of Cruz’s public defenders said according to WLRN.
‘We do not believe that that is a realistic trial date…There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done.’
The defense claimed they have only taken 91 out of 131 scheduled depositions so far, but Scherer urged them to pace themselves accordingly, insisting she wasn’t going to push back the date any further.
Surveillance video captured gunman Nikolas Cruz stalking the hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida with an assault rifle where he killed 17 people
Students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland
Broward State Attorney, Michael Satz, who is prosecuting the case for the state said however that his legal team is on track for the slated January 20 start.
Cruz’s lawyers have previously said their client would be willing to plead guilty to the 17 counts of first-degree murder charges if a sentence of life in prison could be guaranteed by the court.
The prosecution however insist they would rather take the case to trial and allow a jury to decide Cruz’s ultimate fate.
The next status hearing in the case is set to take place on September 3rd.