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Courts / Law

Nikolas Cruz Arraigned In Court, Waives Hearing His Charges

In this Feb. 19, 2018 file photo, Nikolas Cruz, accused of murdering 17 people in the Florida high school shooting, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
In this Feb. 19, 2018 file photo, Nikolas Cruz, accused of murdering 17 people in the Florida high school shooting, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Nikolas Cruz was back in a Broward County courtroom Wednesday in front of Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Scherer. 

With his head down, Cruz sat silent throughout his appearance.

He was indicted by a grand jury last week on 17 charges of premeditated first-degree murder and 17 charges of attempted first-degree murder. Cruz's legal team told the judge that he didn't need to hear his charges read aloud because he already understood them. 

Only 15-year-old victim Luke Hoyer's name was read out loud in the courtroom. 

Cruz has entered a not guilty plea for now, though his legal team reminded Scherer that he is willing to plead guilty at any time if the death penalty is taken off the table. 

Just Tuesday, Broward State Attorney Michael J. Satz's office announced its intent to seek the death penalty in Cruz's case.

Also Read: Florida Prosecutors Seeking Death Penalty In Stoneman Douglas High Shooting

Across the street from the courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, high school students participating in National Walkout Day were protesting gun violence. 

Fort Lauderdale High School students protested gun violence Wednesday, a street away from the Broward County Courthouse, where Nikolas Cruz had his arraignment.
Credit Caitie Switalski / WLRN
Fort Lauderdale High School students protested gun violence Wednesday, a street away from the Broward County Courthouse, where Nikolas Cruz had his arraignment.

“I was scared, I was actually scared for my life," Fort Lauderdale High School senior Liam Zeilmann said about the day of the mass shooting in Parkland. "That should not happen, I’m trying to receive an education....I just don’t want this fear going forward.”

Zeilmann said he and his schoolmates were unaware that Cruz had an appearance in court on the same day. 

Cruz's next court appearance will be in April, to discuss his assets, inheritance, and whether or not he can afford an attorney over his current public defender.

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