Florida prosecutors to seek death penalty for accused high school shooter Nikolas Cruz

(Reuters) - Florida prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, the former student accused of carrying out the shooting spree last month at a Parkland high school in which 17 people were killed, according to a notice filed in court on Tuesday.

Michael Satz, the state attorney of Broward County, filed the notice with Judge Elizabeth Scherer of his office's intent to seek the death sentence, ahead of a court hearing on Wednesday.

The notice cited multiple reasons under Florida law for the death penalty. Those included the charges that Cruz "knowingly created a great risk of death" to many people, that the shooting was "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel," and it was committed in a "cold, calculated and premeditated manner."

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Florida high school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz
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Florida high school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz
Nikolas Cruz is seen during a status check on his case at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. (Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Photo Credit: Broward County Sheriff’s Office
Nikolas Cruz (C) appears via video monitor with Melisa McNeill (R), his public defender, at a bond court hearing after being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Susan Stocker/Pool
Photo Credit: Instagram
Suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz makes a video appearance in Broward County court before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz makes a video appearance in Broward County court before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz makes a video appearance in Broward County court before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz makes a video appearance in Broward County court before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he allegedly killed 17 people, is seen on a closed circuit television screen during a bond hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting. (Photo by Susan Stocker - Pool/Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Prosecutor Shari Tate (L) attends the hearing for Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he allegedly killed 17 people, during a bond hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting. (Photo by Susan Stocker - Pool/Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he allegedly killed 17 people, is seen on a closed circuit television screen during a bond hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting. (Photo by Susan Stocker - Pool/Getty Images)
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Stocker/Pool
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Stocker/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Stocker/Pool
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Stocker/Pool
Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill (L) speaks to Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz in court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. April 27, 2018. Taimy Alvarez/Sun-Sentinel/Pool via REUTERS
Nikolas Cruz, who gunned down 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, appears in a Broward County courtroom on July 16, 2018. (Taimy Alvarez/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
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Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the attack on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which 14 students and three staff died.

After the filing, Cruz's attorneys repeated their offer for Cruz to plead guilty if prosecutors agreed to not pursue the death penalty. Cruz is due to appear in court in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday for his arraignment, where he will be formally asked to plead to the charges.

"We still stand ready to immediately plead guilty to 34 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole," Howard Finkelstein, a county public defender, wrote in an email. "If we are not allowed to do so tomorrow, we will stand mute to the charges."

Standing mute means the defendant will not plea either 'guilty' or 'not guilty' to the charges. Cruz's lawyers have said they have taken this approach to avoid upsetting survivors and families of victims with the "fiction" of a not guilty plea. The court is expected to enter a not guilty plea on his behalf, Finkelstein said.

"We are not saying he is not guilty but we can't plead guilty while death is still on the table," Finkelstein wrote.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Additional reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale; editing by Grant McCool and Rosalba O'Brien)

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Victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
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Victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting

Scott Beige - Geography Teacher

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Elizabeth James Watt​​​​​​​

Chris Hixon - athletic director

Photo Credit: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

15-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff

Photo Credit: Florida Youth Soccer Association

14-year-old Alex Schachter

Photo Credit : Getty 

14-year-old Cara Loughran

Photo Credit: Facebook

17-year-old Helena Ramsey

Photo Credit: Facebook

14-year-old Alaina Petty

Photo Credit: Facebook

14-year-old Gina Montalto

Photo Credit: Facebook

15-year-old Peter Wang
18-year-old Meadow Pollack (left)

Student Jaime Guttenberg

Photo Credit: Facebook 

Student Martin Duque

Photo Credit: Martin Duque/GoFundMe

17-year-old student Nick Dworet

Photo Credit: Instagram 

Football coach Aaron Feis.

Photo Credit: MSDfootball.com

16-year-old student Carmen Schentrup

Student Joaquin Oliver

Photo Credit: Facebook

Student Luke Hoyer

Photo Credit: Facebook 

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