The attorney for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz made her opening statement to the jury on Monday, arguing for Cruz’s life to be spared during the penalty phase of his trial.
A defense attorney on Monday begged a Florida jury to spare the life of Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 people in a 2018 high school mass shooting in the city of Parkland, citing brain damage due to fetal drug and alcohol exposure as a cause not to impose the death penalty.
Cruz, 23, pled guilty last October to committing premeditated murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, roughly 30 miles (50 km) north of Fort Lauderdale, in one of the bloodiest school shootings in U.S. history.
Cruz killed 14 students and three staff members, Melisa McNeil, Cruz’s lead public defender, told the 12 Broward County jurors that he should receive life in prison without parole due to mitigating factors including lifelong developmental delays and mental health disorders that arose from his biological mother’s drug and alcohol abuse during pregnancy.
Among the witnesses McNeil called after giving her opening statement was Cruz’s half-sister, Danielle Woodard, who emotionally testified that their mother drank heavily and took drugs including cocaine while she was pregnant with Cruz. Jurors must determine whether to sentence him to death or to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Appeal for Death Penalty
Prosecutor Michael Satz told jurors in July that Cruz, a 19-year-old expelled student at the time of the shootings, should be put to death for “goal-directed, planned, systematic murder – mass murder – of 14 pupils, an athletic director, a teacher, and a coach.”
“Because of that, his brain was irretrievably shattered, through no fault of his own,” McNeil told the jurors. McNeil on Monday acknowledged the severity of Cruz’s act but reminded the jurors that they were under no obligation to vote for death even “in the worst instance possible. And it is arguable that this is the worst case imaginable.” Under Florida law, a jury must be unanimous in its decision to recommend that a judge sentence Cruz to be executed. Cruz claimed when he pled guilty that he was “extremely remorseful” and requested to be given a chance to help others.
The opening last month of the trial’s sentencing phase included testimony from children who were at school that day and cellphone recordings in which terrified students pleaded for help or spoke in hushed whispers as they hid. U.S. gun violence attracted additional attention following recent mass shootings.
These include one in July at an Independence Day celebration outside Chicago that killed seven people, one in May at a school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two instructors dead, and one in May at a store in a mainly Black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 people. President Joe Biden in June signed the first substantial federal gun reform legislation in three decades, which he called a rare bipartisan success.
Nikolas Cruz Age, Family, Early Life
Nikolas Cruz’s birth date and Zodiac sign are not known. He holds an American Nationality and he belongs to white ethnicity.
There is currently no verified information about Nikolas Cruz’s parents yet.
Nikolas Cruz Girlfriend, What about his Relationship?
So yet, nothing about Nikolas Cruz’s girlfriend or wife’s personality or love relationship has been revealed.
Nikolas Cruz Career, What is his profession?
There is no information available on the internet about Nikolas Cruz’s professional career.
How much is Nikolas Cruz Net Worth?
Nikolas Cruz has not disclosed his financial details. Thus it is hard to estimate his net worth.
Which school and college did he go to?
The specifics of Nikolas Cruz’s high school or the faculty he graduated from are all being investigated.
Is he available on any kind of social media platform?
We did a quick search for the social media presence of Nikolas Cruz but weren’t able to find him on any social media platforms.
Physical Appearance of Nikolas Cruz’s Height, Weight
|Hair Color||Blonde and black|
Interesting facts about Nikolas Cruz’s should be known
|Zodiac sign||Not Available|