Florida shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz could face death penalty for 17 counts of premeditated murder

  • Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the mass shooting at a Florida high school on Wednesday, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

  • If guilty, Cruz's actions could constitute a capital crime, and the sentencing jury can recommend the death penalty under state law.


Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the mass shooting at a Florida high school on Wednesday, could face the death penalty after being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Sheriffs in Broward County, Florida, posted custody records online the morning after they arrested Cruz. They listed 17 separate counts of premeditated murder, matching the latest casualty figures from officials.

Cruz, at 19, will stand trial as an adult. If found guilty, his alleged attack on Majory Stoneman Douglas high school could qualify as a capital crime, as he may have knowingly created a great risk of death to many people.

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In Florida, if a sentencing jury unanimously recommends the death penalty, the judge can impose it.

Between 1973 and 2016, the state of Florida executed 95 individuals, sometimes after they had spent decades on death row.

Cruz's lawyer told the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel that the AR-15 allegedly used in the shooting was possessed by Cruz legally.

SEE ALSO: The Florida high school shooting suspect has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder