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Nikolas Cruz, a Park in the school shooter, might go on trial in the beginning of 2020, judge says

connectVideoRemembering the Park shooting one year later

A Broward Circuit judge wants the trial for the suspect accused of committing a mass shooting at a high school in a Park in Florida to begin in 2020.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer said during a hearing on Thursday that they plan is to make a final trial date soon for Nikolas Cruz. The 20-year-old allegedly opened fire at marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Feb. 14, 2018, the killing of 17 people and the wounding of 17 others — a crime that investigators say he confessed.

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“I’m asking both sides to keep in mind. Pace yourself,” the judge said. “I ask you keep that in mind as a goal to get ahead.”

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Assistant state attorney Jeff Marcus said prosecutors and defense attorneys are working as quickly as possible to identify and interview witnesses, sorting through evidence and begin with the planning of what would likely be the largest trial in the recent Broward County history — if not ever.

“It gives us a place to work in the direction of” the assistant state attorney said of the 2020 target.

Lawyers for Cruz have said the former Stoneman Douglas student will plead guilty in exchange for a lifetime prison sentence, but the prosecutors have refused that offer.

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Researchers claim Cruz, who is also accused of assaulting a jail corrections officer, while in custody, confessed to the shooting on the day he was arrested. Prosecutors released cell phone video of Cruz the description in advance exactly what he was planning to do at the school.

And since he is reportedly known, in Cruz, the trial would probably focus more on his mental and emotional problems, as well as his fascination with violence, weapons and death. These problems would also play a central role in the question of whether a jury chooses to impose the death penalty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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