Miami Herald by David Ovalle
July 16, 2018
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s statement to police should be kept “under wraps” to not taint a potential jury pool, his lawyer told a court Monday as a judge continues to weigh whether to release it to the media and public.
Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer on Monday listened to another round of arguments from lawyers over whether the transcript and video of the hours-long interrogation should be released to the media. Scherer said she will issue a written order detailing her decision.
Cruz, 19, is facing the death penalty for killing 17 people, and wounding 17 more, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in February — the worst school shooting in Florida history. As his brother watched from the gallery, Cruz — in a red jail jumpsuit — spent the entirety of Monday’s hearing with his forehead resting on the defendant’s table.
The carnage resulted in a wave of student activism against the proliferation of guns, a change in the state’s firearms law and scrutiny on law enforcement failures before and during the shooting.
Cruz confessed to homicide detectives, and the Broward Public Defender’s Office has said Cruz will plead guilty if prosecutors waive the death penalty. The State Attorney’s Office has pressed forward; a trial is likely years away, although Scherer on Monday proposed a September 2019 trial date, which defense lawyers said was too soon.