Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz formally charged with 17 counts of murder

Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz has been formally charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder, which could mean a death sentence if he's convicted.

A grand jury in Fort Lauderdale returned the indictment Wednesday against the 19-year-old Cruz for the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in which 17 people died and 16 were wounded.

The indictment also charges Cruz with 17 counts of attempted murder.

Cruz's public defender has said he'll plead guilty if prosecutors take the death penalty off the table, which would mean a life prison sentence. The Broward County state attorney hasn't announced a decision on the death penalty.

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