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Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz in court for hearing

Nikolas Cruz in court for hearing, Nov. 3, 2021
Posted at 2:19 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 15:11:22-04

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz was in court Wednesday afternoon for a status hearing.

Prosecutors and Cruz's defense attorneys worked to lay out ground rules for the upcoming sentencing trial along with which types of evidence will be allowed.

Much discussion took place Wednesday on what to call a room where some of the fatal shootings took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Cruz's defense team sought to avoid the state from calling the room the "Holocaust Room" — a room where studies of the Holocaust took place.

The defense team contended the room should be called another name in an effort to not compare Cruz to the Holocaust.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer said prosecutors should specify in the trial that the room was used for the teaching of the Holocaust since that is what students at the school called it.

Wednesday's hearing came after Cruz pleaded guilty last month to murdering 17 people and attempting to kill 17 others in the Valentine's Day 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Cruz confessed to the crimes in open court and apologized to family members of his victims.

By pleading guilty, Cruz must now await his fate as a jury will be asked to decide whether he should be executed for his crimes or sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Defense attorneys have filed a series of motions to suppress evidence in the upcoming penalty phase, including personal items found in a Pompano Beach home, among them an assault rifle purchased by Cruz.

It is possible that an evidentiary hearing may be held on Nov. 15 as both sides seek to iron out details for the upcoming trial.

The sentencing trial is scheduled to start on Jan. 3.