Cruz Withdraws "Not Guilty" Plea, Stands Mute To Charges

Parkland school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz withdrew his plea of not guilty and is now "standing mute" to murder charges, attorneys for the 19-year-old said Thursday.

Cruz faces 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.

By standing mute, Cruz is pleading neither guilty nor not guilty to the charges.

Cruz was formally indicted by a grand jury Wednesday.

The public defender's office has said Cruz would plead guilty if prosecutors do not pursue the death penalty, but no decision has been announced on that.

The next step will be an arraignment for Cruz, where a judge likely would enter a not guilty plea for him to keep the process moving.

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