The alleged Parkland's shooter, Nikolas Cruz was officially arraigned in court on Wednesday where his attorneys offered to Plead Guilty to avoid the death penalty, the Chicago Tribune reported. According to the public defender, Howard Finkelstein, Mr. Cruz is ready to plead guilty as long as the death penalty is off the table. Michael J. Satz, the state attorney for Broward County, made his decision to seek the death penalty against Cruz just days after the Parkland Shooting.

Parkland shooting

19-year-old Cruz is being accused of killing 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Upon his arrest, Cruz was charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

The police told reporters that Cruz legally purchased the weapon he used in the shooting.

During the hearing on Wednesday, Cruz seemed oblivious to everything happening around him and constantly kept his head down. His lawyers stood mute on the plea, forcing the judge to enter a not guilty plea on his behalf. Present family members of the victims were spotted crying while others stared intently at Cruz. Cruz’s younger brother, Zachary Cruz, was among those present during the hearing. According to a police report, Zachary regrets bullying his brother and wishes he could have prevented the massacre.

Cruz’s attorneys are determined to keep their client out of death row. The lawyers have decided to focus on convincing one juror to block the execution rather than contesting for his guilt. They intend to prove mitigating factors such as mental duress.

On the other hand, the prosecutors plan to prove that Mr. Cruz is eligible for execution by citing that Cruz knowingly murdered many people in a cruel and heinous way. Florida currently is home to 347 death row inmates. If the defense team is successful in removing the death penalty, Cruz would be expected to serve a life sentence for each of his murders.

Governor Rick Scott signs gun bill

After the mass shooting, Florida lawmakers passed a bill that ensures no one below the age 21 is allowed to own a gun. The law also allows local districts to arm their teachers and other school personnel. The state will provide annual funding that would give local law enforcement and educators the necessary tools to identify students capable of violence. However, the NRA has sued Florida and requested that the court block the bill since it goes against the constitution, according to chief lobbyist Chris Cox.