Miami, Oct 21 (IANS): The gunman who killed 17 people at a high school in the US state of Florida in 2018 has pleaded guilty to all the 34 charges against him, handing his fate to a jury that could sentence him to either life in prison or death.
On Wednesday, Nikolas Cruz, the 23-year-old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, pleaded guilty one-by-one to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in a courtroom where Judge Elizabeth Scherer read him a lengthy list of questions as well as each of the victims' names, reports Xinhua news agency.
The carnage on February 14, 2018, was was one of the deadliest school shootings in the country's history, killing 14 students and three faculty members, while injuring 17 others.
The case now goes into the penalty phase, scheduled to begin in January 2022.
A jury will be selected, which will recommend a sentence to the judge after hearing testimony.
Cruz will face the minimum of life in prison and the maximum of capital punishment.
The prosecution has said they plan to seek the death penalty.
"I am very sorry for what I did, and I have to live with it every day. If I were to get a second chance, I would do everything in my power to try to help others," Cruz said to the victims' families while reading a prepared statement after his guilty pleas.
"I love you, and I know you don't believe me," he said.