The brother and sister of Parkland college shooter Nikolas Cruz are anticipated to testify on his behalf this week, when the killer’s protection attorneys unveil their case at his sentencing trial.
Arguing that his troubled childhood warrants some measure of mercy, Cruz’s counsel will foyer jurors in Florida to present him a sentence of life in jail, relatively than the demise penalty.
His half-sister, Danielle Woodard, 35, and brother, Zachary Cruz, 22, are anticipated to be questioned on the circumstances of their notorious sibling’s upbringing.
Woodward, who shares her delivery mom with Cruz, is at the moment behind bars awaiting trial for allegedly car-jacking a 72-year-old lady in Broward County in 2020, and will likely be transferred from the jail to testify.
She has an extended felony historical past and has served a number of stints behind bars since her youth.
Whereas their mom put Cruz up for adoption whereas nonetheless an toddler, Woodard is anticipated to inform jurors about her drug and alcohol use whereas pregnant with him.
Zachary Cruz, who was hit with six months probation for trespassing on the capturing web site after the murders, is anticipated to reply questions on his brother’s youth.
The protection staff will spotlight a number of traumas Nikolas Cruz endured as a toddler, together with his mom’s cocaine and alcohol use whereas pregnant, his alleged sexual abuse by an unidentified “peer” and his adoptive father’s demise at age 5.
Cruz’s legal professionals may even carry up his acute psychological well being issues, bullying he endured at college and his adoptive mom’s passing months previous to the Feb. 14, 2018 bloodbath.
Cruz, then 19, opened hearth at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty and killed 14 college students and three staffers in one of many worst mass shootings within the nation’s historical past. He has pleaded responsible to 17 counts of first-degree homicide.
The protection deferred giving their opening assertion initially of the trial, and can achieve this as early as Monday.
Prosecutors introduced Cruz’s crimes in graphic element, with jurors watching footage of the bloodshed and touring the fenced-off crime scene.
Kinfolk and buddies of these killed have given wrenching testimony about their torment, at instances drawing tears from Cruz’s legal professionals.