NewsParkland Shooting

Actions

Nikolas Cruz's defense team seeks to prohibit psychology test from sentencing trial

Test analyzed Cruz's behaviors as child
Nikolas Cruz in court July 12, 2022
Posted at 4:14 PM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 18:16:14-04

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — In less than one week, opening statements are expected to begin to determine whether the Parkland school shooter should be sentenced to life in prison or receive the death penalty.

Pretrial motions continued Tuesday to determine exactly what evidence the jury will see during the trial.

Nikolas Cruz's defense team is making its case that certain key pieces of evidence should be eliminated from the trial. This includes a detailed psychology test that analyzed Cruz and his behaviors as a child.

Assistant State Attorney Mike Satz, Assistant State Attorney Jeff Marcus, and Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill, July 12, 2022
Assistant State Attorney Mike Satz, Assistant State Attorney Jeff Marcus, and Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill talk during a hearing in the penalty phase of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.

The defense is standing firm in their opinion that the report should be confidential, but prosecutors said their argument is meaningless, citing conflicting reports between two different psychologists.

Prosecutors on Tuesday dug deep into Cruz's behavior as a child, specifically when he was 6 years old.

They said Cruz was capable of age-appropriate tasks like setting a table, using a microwave and brushing his teeth.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer in court on July 12, 2022
Judge Elizabeth Scherer listens to arguments during a hearing in the penalty phase of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.

But the defense pointed to a different study that said Cruz had the mindset of a 1-year-old when he was 12 years old and only knew 50 words.

Prosecutors argue that Cruz's school records over the years don't support that claim.

"The defendant brushed his teeth when he was 6-7 years of age, which was indicated at 12 that he didn't," prosecutor Jeff Marcus said. "Whether or not he could zip up a jacket, button a shirt, that he could play a game like Tetris on his phone, these are all relevant questions as to his adaptive behavior."

Meanwhile, it is still unclear when Judge Elizabeth Scherer will decide on whether Cruz's internet searches and social media posts will be shown to jurors, which contain his dark thoughts about mass shootings, racial slurs and his obsession with Adolf Hitler.