NewsParkland Shooting


Parkland families eager for closure as school shooting case reaches tipping point

Gunman still faces death penalty despite plans to plead guilty
Manuel Oliver, father of Joaquin Oliver
Posted at 4:28 PM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 18:16:18-04

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Dozens of families have been waiting for Nikolas Cruz to be convicted in the Parkland school attack. Next week, they could get more closure in the case.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Parkland School Shooting

Seventeen people were killed and another 17 were shot almost four years ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018.

Joaquin Oliver was one of the students killed in the attack. On Aug. 4, he would have been 21 years old.

"The sooner I get this out of my way, the better," said Manuel Oliver, Joaquin's father.

Joaquin Oliver, Parkland school shootin victim
Joaquin Oliver was among the 17 victims in the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The accused gunman told the court Friday he plans to plead guilty to murder and attempted murder charges in the Parkland case.

Manuel Oliver said he is OK with the guilty plea because he wants the court process done.

"We don't need this part of the process. I was never happy with the idea of going to trial," Manuel Oliver said.

Cruz is facing multiple life in prison charges, and there is still a chance for the death penalty.

RELATED: Will Nikolas Cruz get life in prison or death penalty?

"If we can skip the trial and still have the death penalty be on the table, I am OK with that," Manuel Oliver said.

Other parents of victims did not comment on Friday.

The father of Jaime Guttenberg, who was one of the students killed in the attack, tweeted, "My only comment is to remember the victims. Remember Jaime."

Fred Guttenberg invited everyone to a celebration later this month to remember Jaime.

Some of the families were in court Friday. The judge and state attorney's office said in court they expect more to be at Wednesday's hearing.