Judge enters not guilty plea for confessed Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz
5:07 PM, Mar 14, 2018
5:25 PM, Mar 14, 2018
A judge entered a plea of not guilty on Nikolas Cruz's behalf as the teen was arraigned Wednesday in last month's massacre at a South Florida high school -- on the same day students across the country walked out of class to demand stricter gun laws because of the killings.
A Broward County grand jury last week indictedthe 19-year-old gunman on 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first degree.
Wednesday's plea in a Fort Lauderdale court came after Cruz's defense attorney told the judge that the teen was standing mute to the charges -- meaning he was declining to enter a plea.
Cruz, wearing a red jail jumpsuit, largely kept his head down as he sat in a jury box with three law enforcement officers standing behind him.
Some relatives of the victims also sat in the courtroom, watching the proceedings. A few of them wiped tears after Cruz entered the room.
He confessed to being the gunman, according to a probable cause affidavit released shortly after his arrest.
Prosecutors to seek death penalty
Prosecutors announced in court filings Tuesday that they will seek the death penalty. They listed several factors, including that Cruz knowingly created a risk of death for many people and that the shooting was "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel."
The head of the county's public defender's office, which is representing Cruz, said last month that there is no question Cruz is guilty, and that he was willing to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty.