Trial date set for accused Parkland school shooter

FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2018 file photo, Nikolas Cruz, accused of murdering 17 people in the Florida high school shooting, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Cruz was formally charged Wednesday, March 7, with 17 counts of first-degree murder, which could mean a death sentence if he is convicted. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool, File)
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- The trial of Florida school shooting defendant Nikolas Cruz is set to begin in January.

A judge issued an order Thursday to begin jury selection on Jan. 27 in a trial involving the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people and wounded 17 others.

The 21-year-old Cruz faces the death penalty if convicted. His lawyers have said he will plead guilty in exchange for a life prison sentence, but prosecutors have not accepted that offer.

Cruz is accused of assaulting a building at his former high school with an AR-15 rifle, methodically shooting people as he moved through the floors.

A Broward Sheriff's Office school officer on site, Scot Peterson, remained outside and is now being prosecuted for failing to confront the gunman.

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