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Parkland school shooting suspect wants to be excluded from pre-trial hearings

Posted at 5:56 AM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 09:39:29-04

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- Attorneys for the suspect in last year's Florida high school massacre want to waive his attendance at pretrial hearings.

Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer said in court documents she will question Nikolas Cruz at a hearing Friday. She said if he "knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently" waives his appearance, she will allow it.

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Cruz's attorneys argue that his presence draws television coverage that emotionally damages survivors of the Feb. 14, 2018, attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead. They say prosecutors should accept their proposed deal that would see Cruz plead guilty for a life sentence without parole so the case can be concluded.

Prosecutors have declined the deal and are seeking a death sentence.

Trial for the 20-year-old Cruz is scheduled for early next year.