Florida school shooting defendant has brief court appearance

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The defendant charged with killing 17 people in last year's Florida school shooting was back in court, but only to learn the next time he must show up.

Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer on Tuesday set new hearing dates for May 28 and July 17 for 20-year-old Nikolas Cruz in the February 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Cruz could get the death penalty if convicted.

Nothing of note was raised at Tuesday's hearing.

Cruz's attorneys say he would plead guilty in return for a life prison sentence, but prosecutors have refused that offer.

The presiding judge recently ordered that the Broward County public defender's office must continue to represent Cruz for now even though he could get an estimated $432,000 payout before taxes from his late mother's annuity.

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