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Testimony: Parkland school shooter was intellectually slow – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz as a toddler was intellectually and bodily behind different youngsters, which induced him to isolate himself and hit and chunk to get what he wished, a daycare administrator and former neighbor testified Tuesday at his penalty trial for mass homicide.

Cruz’s attorneys started the second day of their protection by constructing on testimony that his beginning mom’s cocaine and alcohol abuse throughout being pregnant left him severely brain broken, placing him on a street that led to him murdering 14 college students and three employees members at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.

They try to influence his jury to condemn him to life with out parole as a substitute of demise. Cruz, 23, pleaded responsible in October to the murders and the trial is just to find out his sentence.

Anne Fischer, who ran the daycare heart Cruz attended from about age 1, stated he didn’t progress as quick as different youngsters and was smaller. She stated whereas the opposite toddlers might ask for his or her water cups and use a spoon, Cruz couldn’t. She stated he would fall down when he tried to run and his head and ears appeared disproportional to his physique.

“He isolated himself a lot. He would sit in the corner and observe,” Fischer stated. “Because of his language delays, it was easier to use your hands because you didn’t have the words to express yourself.”

Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill holds an undated {photograph} of the Cruz household whereas questioning a witness through the penalty part of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz on the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, August 23, 2022. Cruz beforehand plead responsible to all 17 counts of premeditated homicide and 17 counts of tried homicide within the 2018 shootings. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel through AP, Pool)

He pushed different youngsters as a result of he “didn’t know how to express himself,” she stated. “If someone else had a toy that Nikolas wanted, he would just go up and grab the toy and hit the child’s hand to get the toy or the object. If a teacher was trying to work with him to get him to use his spoon or not his hand. He would hit the teacher’s hand away.”

She stated Lynda Cruz, his adoptive mom, was loving towards Nikolas and tried to do the most effective she might, however was slow to confess he had issues.

She stated that because the capturing, she generally feels a bit responsible, questioning if there was one thing she might have executed “so he could be a better person.”

Patricia Devaney-Westerlind, who lived throughout the road from Lynda and Roger Cruz, stated Lynda Cruz stored the household’s 4,500-square-foot house immaculate and that she was nurturing to Nikolas and his youthful half-brother Zachary, whom the household additionally adopted.

“He was a cute little baby,” she stated of Nikolas. “She would go and get him all these sailor outfits. She was just the happiest I ever saw her.”

Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill reveals an undated photograph of Nikolas, left, and Zachary Cruz to Patricia “Trish” Devaney Westerlind as she testifies through the penalty part of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz on the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, August 23, 2022. Devaney Westerlind lived in Parkland from 1998 to 2008 and was a neighbor of the Cruz household. Cruz beforehand plead responsible to all 17 counts of premeditated homicide and 17 counts of tried homicide within the 2018 shootings. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel through AP, Pool)

But she noticed lots of the identical points that Fischer did — that apart from her daughter, who was about eight months youthful than him, Nikolas Cruz couldn’t relate to different youngsters.

“I didn’t see anything that different until about maybe 18 months old. He’s very, very hyper. Very,” she stated. “Always running around. He wasn’t talking, so if he wanted a toy, he would go after someone.”

Devaney-Westerlind stated when the youngsters of the neighborhood would collect at her house, Cruz would keep by himself and conceal behind the blinds.

“You’d see all the kids playing on the floor with different toys and he’d be somewhere else,” she stated.

She stated Cruz was a mattress and pants wetter till he was 6 or 7, which induced different youngsters to select on him.

“He would get upset and he would start breaking their toys,” she stated. “He would be very upset, he would clench his fists. He’d be very angry. It would go on for a while. He wouldn’t get over it.”

The protection is attempting to beat the prosecution’s case, which featured surveillance video of Cruz mowing down college students and employees as he stalked a three-story constructing for seven-minutes, images of the aftermath and a jury go to to the constructing.

For Cruz to obtain a demise sentence, the jury have to be unanimous. If one juror votes for all times, that shall be his sentence.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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