Prosecutors announced on Tuesday that they plan to seek the death penalty in the case of the accused Parkland, Florida, mass killer. He is scheduled for a formal arraignment on Wednesday.
What’s the background?
Previously, the accused’s attorneys revealed that their client would plead guilty in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table. He reportedly confessed to carrying out the mass killing, according to a probable cause affidavit that was released shortly after his arrest.
The reported killer was indicted last week on 17 counts of first-degree murder in connection with the mass killing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. He was also indicted on 17 counts of attempted murder.
What is prosecution saying now?
According to CNN, the prosecution in its filing said that in addition to the accused killer “knowingly” creating a “risk of death for many people,” other factors including obstructing “any government function or the enforcement of laws” also contributed to its decision to seek the death penalty.
“The capital felony was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification,” the filing noted, and added that the murder was “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.”
CNN reported that prosecutors have also requested that the court “put several provisions in place in the event that [the accused killer’s] defense intends to introduce documentation or testimony regarding their client’s mental health.”
According to Florida state law, if he is convicted and a jury unanimously recommends the death penalty, a judge could order his execution.
Florida state law specifies that a person sentenced to death could elect death by electrocution or lethal injection.