A lawyer for Nikolas Cruz requested that members of the jury Monday consider the Parkland school shooter’s dysfunctional home life and his serious mental health issues when they choose whether to give him the death penalty.
“In telling you Nik’s story, in telling you the chapters of his life, we will give you reasons for life,” public defender Melisa McNeill expressed Monday in a Florida courtroom. “That is called mitigation. Mitigation is any reason that you believe that the death penalty is not an appropriate penalty in this case.”
Specifically, McNeill featured his mother’s addiction to drugs and liquor during his pregnancy, saying Cruz gave indications from early on of fetal liquor spectrum disorder and total disregard for other people.
“Because Nikolas was bombarded by all of those things, he was poisoned in the womb. Because of that, his brain was irretrievably broken, through no fault of his own,” McNeill said.
The remarks were essential for the defense’s initial assertions in Cruz’s capital punishment trial for the killing of 17 individuals and injuring of 17 more at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018. It was whenever attendants first heard from Cruz’s defense. His lawyers conceded their underlying opening explanations, didn’t interview any understudies or educators who survived the shooting, and posed just basic questions to other witnesses.
The defense likewise called its initial two observers, a lady who affirmed Cruz’s mother utilized drugs and liquor while pregnant and Cruz’s sister, who depicted existence with a “horrible mother.”
Cruz pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, and the current period of his criminal trial is to decide his sentence. Examiners are looking for the death penalty, while Cruz’s defense lawyers are requesting the jury for a sentence of life in jail without the chance of parole.
North of three weeks in July and August, examiners contended Cruz was “cold, calculative, manipulative and deadly” in completing his assault and called to the stand a series of understudies, educators, cops, and casualties’ relatives to demonstrate the veracity of the horrendous details of that day.
Assuming members of the jury called for Cruz to be condemned to death, they should be unanimous.
Fourteen of those killed were students ranging from the ages of 14-18, and three teachers were also killed while trying to save the students and running towards the danger.
In opening explanations Monday, McNeill spread out Cruz’s troublesome day-to-day life, including his mother’s addiction history and the passing of his adoptive parents Lynda and Roger Cruz.
McNeill considered Cruz a “damaged and wounded” individual and said lawyers intend to show the court upsetting things he said and composed his fixations on firearms and demons and, surprisingly, his school shooting “manifesto.”
In February 2017, at age 18 and not on track to graduate, Cruz was told to leave the school, and he ran off the grounds, McNeill said. A school screen saw the scene and said, “That kid is going to come back and shoot this school up,” as indicated by McNeill.
In November 2017, his mom Lynda Cruz passed, which McNeill said removed any peace in his life. By the moment of the shooting, police visited his home over 40 times, she said.
It seems like Cruz had an exceptionally harsh childhood, and highlights his past as fault for what has happened, for instance, The defense’s first two witnesses testified Brenda Woodard, Cruz’s mother, utilized liquor and drugs while she was pregnant with Cruz.
Carolyn Deakins, a recovering addict who used drugs, drank, and worked as a prostitute with Woodard, affirmed Woodard showed no consideration for the approaching child and utilized every one of her assets to purchase drugs and liquor.
Danielle Woodard, Cruz’s sister, comparably affirmed her mom abused liquor and drugs throughout her childhood, establishing an aggressive environment for any child.
“She had an addiction. She always put that first, before me, or him, or Zach – Cruz, or anybody. She introduced me to a life that no child should be introduced to,” she added. “She had no regard for my life or his life.”
Moreover, Susan Hendler Lubar, who recently worked with special needs children in South Florida, affirmed that Cruz was aggressive and wouldn’t communicate with others when he entered her class at 4 years of age.
Hendler Lubar said she started to notice and record his way of behaving, especially his hostility and “animal fantasies,” in which he would murmur, scratch, and twist his hands into paws while behaving like a creature.
The defense delivered a form in court that Hendler Lubar had filled out while she was Cruz’s educator. On the form, she noticed that the kid seldom took care of reprimands or redirection without overreacting, seldom helped out peers, and seldom made friends without any problem. She likewise indicated that he rarely exhibited self-restraint or adhered to the rules.
As the case continues to develop it appears that a lot of blame is being tossed around. However, Cruz already pleaded guilty to the 17 deaths, so now it’s just a matter of time until he receives his final sentence.