Florida judge denies request for Parkland shooter's sentencing to be delayed

The shooting in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead

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A Florida judge has denied a request from the lawyer of Nikolas Cruz, 23, who shot and killed 17 people at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, to delay a sentencing hearing.

The lawyers for Cruz argued that because of recent mass shootings in both Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York, a nationwide "wave of emotions" has been released that could cause a bias on the jury's decision-making, and said that the July 18 start of the sentencing trial is too soon.

Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer denied the request on Thursday, stating that the long process that was made to seat the jury didn't show any issues that would be related to the shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo.

"There has not been any negative impact to his fair trial rights and there is no basis to continue this matter," Scherer wrote in the ruling.

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Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz speaks with Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill prior to the start of jury pre-selection in the penalty phase of his trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. April 4, 2022.  

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz speaks with Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill prior to the start of jury pre-selection in the penalty phase of his trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. April 4, 2022.   (Amy Beth Bennett/Pool via Reuters)

Cruz pleaded guilty in October to murdering 17 people at the Florida high school on Feb. 14, 2018.

The jury that was finalized this week is determining whether Cruz will be handed the death penalty or spend his life in prison.

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Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz sits at the defense table during jury selection in the penalty phase of his trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday, June 29, 2022. The judge has refused to delay the sentencing trial of Cruz in the 2018 shooting at a high school in which 17 people were killed. 

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz sits at the defense table during jury selection in the penalty phase of his trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday, June 29, 2022. The judge has refused to delay the sentencing trial of Cruz in the 2018 shooting at a high school in which 17 people were killed.  (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Cruz's sentencing trial is likely to last nearly four months.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.