FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Prosecutors in the penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz will begin their rebuttal case Tuesday, challenging his attorneys’ contention that he murdered 17 people because his birth mother abused alcohol during pregnancy, a condition they say went untreated.
Prosecutor Mike Satz’s team is expected to call experts who will testify Cruz has antisocial personality disorder — in lay terms, he’s a sociopath — and fully responsible for his Feb. 14, 2018, attack at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
According to the National Institutes of Health, people with antisocial personality disorder commit “exploitive, delinquent and criminal behavior with no remorse.” They usually have no regard for others, don’t follow the law, can’t sustain consistent relationships or employment and use manipulation for personal gain, the NIH says.
Prosecutors will want to reemphasize Cruz “understood exactly” what he was doing during the massacre and could “formulate and carry out a plan,” said David S. Weinstein, a Miami defense attorney and former prosecutor.
Robert Jarvis, a professor at Nova Southeastern University’s law school, said prosecution experts will also likely testify that even if Cruz’s brain was damaged by his birth mother’s drinking, that’s true of thousands of other Americans and they don’t commit mass murder.