FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Attorneys for the mature scholar accused of murdering 17 at a Florida excessive college desire prosecutors and their witnesses barred at trial from regarding him as “an animal,” “a factor,” “the killer” or in any manner they believe is derogatory.
Nikolas Cruz’s lead attorney additionally argued Wednesday that prosecutors and their witnesses must peaceable be barred at trial from calling the Feb. 14, 2018, taking pictures at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High College in Parkland “the bloodbath,” “the schoolhouse slaughter,” “an execution” or different “inflammatory” phrases.
Assistant public defender Melisa McNeill urged Circuit Believe Elizabeth Scherer that Cruz must peaceable best be referred to by his title or as “the defendant” at trial and the taking pictures must peaceable be called “the incident,” “the tragedy,” the “mass taking pictures” or different neutral phrases. She said both the U.S. and Florida supreme courts bear dominated that loss of life penalty circumstances require stricter requirements than commonplace trials because the choice and sentence must be beyond reproach and essentially essentially based completely on the law.
“Can those phrases be oldschool outdoors the court docket? Certain. All individuals has a First Modification beautiful to consult Mr. Cruz in any manner they scrutinize match,” McNeill said. “Alternatively, the foundations inside a court docket are different.”
Prosecutor Nicole Chiappone said even Cruz himself has oldschool just a few of the phrases his attorneys desire barred. She said he refers to himself in a cellular phone video as “the next college shooter” and, rapidly before the killings, recorded himself saying, “that is the day of my bloodbath.”
Chiappone said Scherer must peaceable now no longer mark any pretrial checklist of barred phrases. If somebody at trial refers to Cruz or the shootings in a manner his attorneys believe is prejudicial, they’ll object then and mark their argument to strike the wording, she said.
“Referring to this as ‘an incident’ or ‘a tragedy’ is insulting. Here is a lot extra,” she added.
Cruz has pleaded now no longer guilty, nonetheless his attorneys bear said he would plead guilty in change for a existence sentence. Prosecutors bear rejected that offer.
Cruz’s attorneys additionally asked to be taught about testimony given in secret to a statewide gigantic jury empaneled after the taking pictures that examined systemic failures in college security, psychological health counseling and different applications.
They are looking out for to survey if one thing else used to be said particularly about Cruz for the length of the hearings that can provide some mitigation for the taking pictures, either within the primary trial or for the length of the sentencing section. They said within the occasion that they aren’t allowed to survey the testimony, they need Scherer to be taught about it.
Prosecutors and an attorney for the assert said the wide jury testimony discussed problems and components broadly and now no longer Cruz particularly and might perhaps presumably well additionally remain sealed.
Scherer said she would rule on the protection motions by Friday. No date has been house for the trial.
An Oct. 4 trial date used to be house Wednesday on separate prices that Cruz attacked a Broward County detention center guard in November 2018, nine months after the taking pictures. A detention center security video exhibits Cruz charging at Sgt. Raymond Beltran and initiating the fight. The protection has indicated this will likely presumably well additionally argue that Beltran mistreated Cruz beforehand and goaded him into the assault.