Parkland shooter must attend future hearings, judge rules

The Parkland school shooter will not be allowed to stay in his jail cell while lawyers debate his case before trial, a judge ruled Friday.

Considering a defense motion to waive the shooter’s attendance in court for certain pretrial hearings, Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer said Nikolas Cruz first would have to answer several questions: Defendants who waive their legal rights are typically quizzed to make sure their decision is voluntary and in their best interest.

Defense lawyers balked at the prospect of the shooter speaking in court and instead withdrew their motion.

Cruz is charged with 17 counts of murder for the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

He should be at every pretrial hearing where substantive issues will be discussed, prosecutor Jeff Marcus argued. After the judge made her ruling, Marcus said he would agree with defense lawyers if they wanted the shooter to be absent for routine court dates to discuss matters like scheduling.

Friday’s hearing also featured an effort by the defense to keep jail officials from releasing logs showing who was visiting him in jail.

This story is developing. Check back for updates., 954-356-4457, Twitter @SSCourts and @rolmeda

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