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By the Associated Press

Nikolas Cruz has pleaded guilty to murder in the 2018 massacre that left 17 dead at a Parkland, Florida, high school.

Cruz entered his plea Wednesday after answering a long list of questions from Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer aimed at confirming his mental competency. Cruz was charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for those wounded in the Feb. 14, 2018, attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

A penalty trial will determine if the 23-year-old former Stoneman Douglas student will receive a sentence of death or life in prison. The judge hopes testimony can begin in January.