But potentially the more consequential move was defense attorney David Wheeler’s statement in court that Cruz intends to plead guilty in the school shooting, which could avert a lengthy trial.
Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer set a change of plea hearing for Wednesday morning.
Details about what prompted Wheeler to announce Friday that Cruz intends to plead guilty weren’t immediately available. On Thursday, the Broward State Attorney’s Office released a statement saying “there have been no plea negotiations with the prosecution,” and “if he pleads guilty, there would still be a penalty phase.”
Guilty plea in November 2018 jail assault
As for the jail assault case, Cruz appeared in Scherer’s courtroom Friday to plead guilty, cutting off a trial for which jury selection began earlier this month.
Wearing a navy sweater, white collared shirt and tan slacks, Cruz on Friday stood at a podium and told Scherer that he understood the four charges against him in the assault case.
When Scherer asked him how he was feeling, he responded, “Feeling alright,” before succinctly answering questions about his communication with his attorneys and comprehension of the proceedings.
He pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, battery on a law enforcement officer, depriving an officer of means of protection; and use of a self-defense weapon against a law enforcement officer.
He faces a minimum sentence of about 14 and a half months for those pleas.
According to the arrest report, the incident began when a jail officer asked that Cruz not drag his sandals on the ground while walking around a dayroom area.
Cruz tackled and repeatedly punched the guard, then took his stun gun in a fight, according to the arrest report. As they wrestled over the device, the weapon discharged, the report states. Cruz struck the sergeant several more times until the guard regained control of the weapon, struck at Cruz’s face and took him into custody, the report states.
CNN’s Dakin Andone contributed to this report.
Source : CNN