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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.

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An Omaha woman has died, more than a week after she was shot at a Des Moines bar. Police say officers were called to a shooting at the High Dive Bar just before 1 a.m. Oct. 10 and found two people with gunshot wounds. Both were taken to a hospital. A 27-year-old man was treated and quickly released. A 26-year-old woman was hospitalized in critical condition and died Tuesday. Police didn’t release the names of those injured. The death was the eight homicide in Des Moines this year.

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Hundreds of people have been ordered to report for jury duty in Georgia for what could be a long, laborious effort to find jurors for the trial of three white men charged with fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery. Graphic video of the slaying of the 25-year-old Black man in 2020 sparked a national outcry. Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan are charged with murder and other crimes. Prosecutors say Arbery was merely jogging in the defendants’ neighborhood outside the port city of Brunswick. Defense attorneys insist the three men committed no crimes. 

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A group of 17 U.S. missionaries including children has been kidnapped by a gang in Haiti, according to a voice message sent to various religious missions by an organization with direct knowledge of the incident. The message from Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries said the missionaries were on their way home from building an orphanage. The one-minute message asked for prayers "that the gang members would come to repentance.” It says the mission’s field director is working with the U.S. Embassy, and that the field director’s family and one other unidentified man stayed at the ministry’s base while everyone else visiting the orphanage was abducted.