Nikolas Cruz Officially Charged With 34 Counts Of Murder, Might Face Death Penalty If Convicted

Mike Stocker-PoolGetty Images

Nikolas Cruz was formally charged with 34 counts of murder for his deadly attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

On Wednesday, the Broward County grand jury officially handed down the indictment to the 19-year-old troubled gunman. Cruz is now facing 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder — both in the first-degree.

According to CNN, Cruz might face the death penalty if he is convicted of the crimes. And while prosecutors have yet to announce whether they plan to seek the death sentence, Cruz’s public defender said that the suspect would be willing to plead guilty if the execution is taken off the table.

Apparently, the gunman’s legal team is focused on keeping him away from the death row. If the prosecutors grant their request, Cruz might be facing a lifetime imprisonment instead.

Prior to the announcement of Cruz’s charges, his foster parents, James and Kimberly Snead, testified before the grand jury behind closed doors in Fort Lauderdale. The couple, along with their attorney, Jim Lewis, wore silver “17” pins to honor the victims of Florida school shooting.

Lewis said that his clients are “trying to do the right thing” and mourning along with the rest of the Parkland community.

Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.Featured image credit: Mike Stocker-PoolGetty Images

Previously, it has been reported that the couple knew about Cruz’s gun arsenal and even allowed him to keep them given that he followed their rules. Part of the rules included storing all of his guns — an AR-15, two other assault rifles, BB guns, and pellet guns — in a locked safe and surrender all keys.

The foster parents reiterated that they didn’t see any sign of the danger he posed and were unaware of his deadly plan, Sun-Sentinel reported.

Meanwhile, details of Cruz’s life behind bars were revealed earlier on Wednesday based on the logs kept by the guards monitoring him at Broward County Jail.

17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.Featured image credit: Joe RaedleGetty Images

According to Newsweek, the reports span six days, beginning three days after the deadly attack. Apparently, Cruz was described as a quiet inmate who has a varied appetite and has difficulties in sleeping.

The outlet noted that Cruz often tosses and turns at night as he struggles to sleep and stares at the ceiling for hours. The guards also revealed that at one point, he was heard laughing and giggling during one visit with a lawyer.

Then, 10 days after his murders, he reportedly asked for a bible to read at night.

Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, killing 17 people.