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Parkland School Shooting: Nikolas Cruz Likely To Plead Guilty To 17 Counts Of Murder

Paul S Voakes

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A court hearing is set for Friday for Nikolas Cruz, who police say has confessed to massacring 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland in 2018. The incident remains the deadliest high school shooting in the U.S. history.

CTV News reported that the hearing was scheduled abruptly at the Broward County Circuit Court on Thursday without saying why. But according to a WSVN-TV report, Cruz is likely to plead guilty to all 17 murder counts.

Cruz’s attorney declined to comment on the development. According to media reports, Cruz, 23, is also likely to plead guilty to 17 counts of attempted murder at the school.

A screenshot of students running out of the school as Nikolas Cruz started shooting.

According to court records, the hearing is before Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer. No trial date had been set.

A jury would decide whether Cruz should be awarded the death sentence or life in prison, though the prosecution has always called for a death sentence for the killings.

Cruz will not be present in the court Friday and only lawyers would be there for the status hearing. Pleas will be entered later, the Sun-Sentinel reported citing unnamed sources.

In a statement late Thursday night, Broward County state attorney’s office said that Cruz’s lawyers would have to say whether there is any guilty plea.

Preparations On For Murder Trial

Preparations are in full swing for the murder trial, the biggest in Broward County history. Cruz was arrested on Feb. 14, 2008, about an hour after the killings, which he is said to have carried out with an AR-15.

All along his lawyers have offered to plead guilty so that Cruz could get a life sentence but prosecutors have refused to give up seeking the death penalty.

A screenshot of police escorting people out of the school.

The likely focus of prosecutors in the penalty phase would be on the horrific nature of the crime and the intensive planning Cruz carried out beforehand.

Tony Montalto, father of a 14-year-old girl who died in the shooting and president of the “Stand With Parkland” group, which represents families of victims said he wasn’t surprised when informed that Cruz plans to plead guilty.

“There is no doubt he murdered my beautiful daughter or the 16 other victims. There is also no doubt he shot the other 17 people and terrorized students in the school. We hope justice is delivered,” Montalto said.

The Deadly Shooting

On the day of the shooting, Cruz, who was 19 at the time, allegedly stormed into the school with an assault rifle and opened fire on students and staff. According to a book that examines the bloodbath, Cruz was obsessed with guns and once told a teacher “I’m a bad kid! I want to kill!”

 

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California News

A Simple Tip To Boost Social Security Benefits By $800

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Inflation sure did inflict some heavy blows to benefits in Social Security, including the amount of coverage to its beneficiaries in the United States. Prices of commodities have surged significantly by six percent in the past year alone. Putting things into perspective, inflation stagnated to almost zero for the better part of the last ten years, and in less than a year, prices have skyrocketed in nearly each of the major categories. A good example is the grocery prices that went up by 12 percent in several categories.  

COLA 2022’s 5.9% may not be enough for some  

To ease things up, the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2022 will be up by 5.9 percent, which is the largest tweak in the last four decades. Albeit such an increase, some still need additional funds to make ends meet. That said, here are some tips to substantially boost one’s income.  

The Significance to Beneficiaries If the Social Security Benefits Get Slashed Early

Image credits: (FDR Presidential Library & Museum/flickr)

All about timing  

An essential factor in determining a person’s Social Security benefit is timing. That said, the timeliest one can get in filing for the program’s benefits is by the time that individual has reached the age of 62, with age 70 being the latest. Americans are well-aware, though, that there’s a catch to this. Early filing of it would only yield lesser benefits. However, waiting for the ripe age of 70 would result in them receiving the maximum benefits, GBR writes 

Further, delayed retirement credits are some sort of reward that Social Security provides its recipients with for putting off claiming an individual’s retirement benefit. These credits start to stack up the month a person reaches their retirement age of 66 years and four months for people born in 1956, as this slowly increases to 67 for folks born in 1960 and above.  

Additionally, these credits accumulate through age 69, though this may seem to work in reverse if one decides to get the benefits earlier.  

The Social Security Administration stated that if a worker starts getting benefits prior to his/her full retirement age, that worker is said to be getting a reduction in benefits. The program stated that a worker can opt to retire as early as 62, though doing such may ensue a benefit reduction to as much as 30 percent. 

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California News

COLA 2022 Rollout Schedule Revealed By Social Security Administration, Know Date

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COLA 2022 Rollout Schedule Revealed By Social Security Administration, Know Date

The Social Security Administration has rolled out the schedule of the program’s payments for 2022. It was learned that the payments would be the first to put in the new cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 5.9 percent.  

The COLA is computed by checking the Consumer Price Index for both Clerical Workers and Urban Wage Earners for July, August, and September, AS reports 

COLA’s 5.9 percent is the highest in decades  

Next year’s COLA is the highest in over four decades. Most of it results from the unusual inflation brought on by several factors resulting from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.  

COLA 2022 Rollout Schedule Revealed By Social Security Administration, Know Date

The Senior Citizens League – a collective that supports the elderly sector in the United States has pointed out that the COLAs implemented to the social security benefits are pretty much behind the market’s actual price hikes over the past decades. The yearly increase to monthly payments will facilitate toward keeping both the disabled and the elderly beneficiaries of the program from losing purchasing power. Nonetheless, a lot from this increase will pretty much make up for similar hikes in the prices of certain goods, including Medicare.  

With that in mind, the league has requested the U.S. Congress to roll out stimulus checks amounting to $1,400 to folks who are on Social Security.  

COLA 2022 schedule  

Meanwhile, the Social Security Administration highlighted that approximately eight million beneficiaries would be getting their initial check alongside the new COLA this December 30. In line with this, over 64 million program recipients will notice increased payments come January 2022 based on SSA’s schedule of payments.   

If the beneficiary’s birthdate falls on the first of the month through the 10th of the same month, that individual’s benefits will be paid on the second Wednesday of the month. That said, January 2022’s first payment is scheduled to be paid on the 12th. Further, if the beneficiary’s birthdate falls on the 11th through the 20th of the month, payment will be made on every month’s third Wednesday. This will be paid on January 19, 2022.  

Folks whose birthdate is on the 21st through the 31st of the month will be paid off on the fourth Wednesday of the month. For this group, it will be paid on January 26, 2022.  

The entirety of the payment schedule is also posted on SSA’s website 

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California News

Easing Up Inflation Through SNAP, Social Security, And Wage Hikes

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Easing Up Inflation Through SNAP, Social Security, And Wage Hikes

Americans are as of late utilizing all the financial help they can get, especially since it is expected that inflation in the United States will continue to surge in 2022. Luckily, some will be getting a much-needed oomph in their income to at least facilitate coping with skyrocketing prices of essential commodities and even health care.   

SNAP  

One way of getting more money next year is through food stamps. This program decides the number of benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), according to GBR. Americans who are eligible for it received a hike back in October when the new fiscal year of the federal government kicked off. It was learned that the typical monthly benefit for the 2022 fiscal year surged to $251 for each individual from the usual $240 per person. The said growth can be pinpointed to the permanent update to the Department of Agriculture’s “Thrifty Food Plan.”  

Here’s What You Can Collect In Social Security Benefits Based On Your Salary $4,194 Being The Maximum

Wage hikes  

Another form is via wage hikes. Albeit the fact that the federal minimum wage may well seem to be wedged at $7.25 an hour for over ten years now, there are places in the U.S. that took it upon themselves and set their hikes in employees’ wages. This year alone, there’s a sum of 74 counties, cities, and states that increased their minimum wages, according to the National Employment Law Project. The project is said to be calculating the statistics for next year, though it is anticipated that the figures will remain the same.  

A good example is the state of Arizona. The minimum wage on the part of the U.S. will be upped to $12.80 per hour from the current $12.15. The same thing goes with Colorado, where the minimum wage is set to increase to $12.56 an hour next year from $12.32.  

As for the federal contractors, they too will be getting a raise as they will be increased to $15 per hour in 2022 after President Joe Biden signed a related executive order. This will fully affect whether new contracts are signed or specific actions like renewals or extensions.  

Also, notable employers have either raised or will raise the minimum wages of their employees. There are even instances that these wage hikes have doubled workers’ pay.  

Social Security  

Those who are receiving Social Security are set to receive their biggest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2022, as this has been deemed the highest in decades. This is when the monthly payments will increase by 5.9 percent to account for inflation. Further, next year’s average monthly Social Security benefit will be increased to $1,657 from the current $1,565 and $3,000 for couples.

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