Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty Wednesday to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, more than three years after gunning down 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer noted that the murder counts he pleaded guilty to carry a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison with no parole.
Cruz, 23, and his lawyers last week surprised Scherer and prosecutors when they announced he planned to plead guilty to all 34 counts.
In a rushed statement to the court Wednesday, a trembling Cruz apologized for his crimes.
“I am very sorry for what I did and I have to live with it every day,” he said. “I have to live with this every day, and it brings me nightmares that I can’t live with myself sometimes but I try to push through.”
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