Testimony: School shooter’s home ruled by chaos

Witnesses reported seeing furniture with carved gashes and televisions that were destroyed. The pair of bats and fists left gaping holes in the walls, marking the time when Cruz reached middle school in the early 2010s. He was tormented by his half-brother, Zachary, and his widowed adoptive mother.

Zachary, a social worker, remembered stepping on a counter and climbing atop it as he ate cereal. He picked Nikolas’ cereal relentlessly and grew stronger and bigger. However, Zachary may have been two years younger.

From 2012 to 2016, Lynda Cruz contacted sheriff’s deputies to her family’s 4,500-square-foot (420-square-meter) residence on at least twenty-four occasions to address issues involving either one of her sons, both of them, or both. Engaging in physical altercations, causing damage to her belongings, showing disrespect towards her, or fleeing were the most frequent motives behind these calls.

One of Cruz’s childhood psychologists, Frederick Kravitz, testified, “Nikolas would get easily provoked and I believe Zachary took pleasure in provoking Nikolas.” As a result, “they were skilled at provoking (their mother).”

Nikolas Cruz, aged 23, pleaded guilty on February 14, 2018, to murdering 17 staff members and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The trial will determine whether he should be sentenced to life in prison or death. Only after a week-long break following Monday will the trial resume.

Satz’s case was uncomplicated, lead prosecutor Mike. Cruz utilized the AR-15-style semi-automatic firearm and presented surveillance footage of the shooting. Other individuals perished, while teachers and students provided testimony regarding their observations. Jurors were escorted to the classroom building Cruz instilled fear in, which still bore the marks of blood and bullets, and were shown explicit autopsy and crime scene images. The parents and spouses were left devastated and inconsolable by the heart-wrenching accounts.

The verdict of death must be unanimous. At least one juror is hoping for a life vote, which has made Cruz’s case the centerpiece of their history. Melisa McNeill, the assistant public defender, has made an attempt to counter that.

He never fully needed help, even as his control over Fort Lauderdale grew increasingly. He wants to show his defense by turning to a crack-smoking, hard-drinking prostitute in Cruz’s.

Constructed in Parkland, a high-end suburb of Fort Lauderdale, was the residence that Roger and Lynda Cruz established, and nowhere was that more evident. In 1998, they legally took in Nikolas as a newborn, and in 2000, Zachary, who had a distinct biological father.

Lynda Cruz, who turned 50 shortly after adopting Nikolas, was a stay-at-home mom. Roger Cruz, then 61, owned a successful marketing business.

According to Trish Davaney-Westerlind, a friend who gave testimony, “She appeared to be extremely content. She would purchase various sailor ensembles for him. He was an adorable infant. Therefore, after obtaining Nikolas, Lynda Cruz felt that her family was whole,” as she had always desired to have a child.

Nikolas started seeing psychologists and psychiatrists at the age of 3, when he couldn’t use utensils properly and became anxious when he fell. He didn’t socialize with other children and testified that he bit and hit teachers and neighbors. Cruz exhibited extreme behavior in preschool.

Lynda Cruz, left alone in her mid-50s, faced a challenge as a much younger couple with two sons. She suffered a fatal heart attack in the den of the family’s house, which her father witnessed when he entered kindergarten at the age of just 5.

According to her friend, the owner of a large home in South Florida typically pays a fraction of what her monthly electric bill was. She became unemployed and started spending about paranoid, so she began unplugging unused appliances and keeping her thermostats’ air conditioners in the high 80s Celsius (around 25 degrees).

To prevent her sons from eating without permission, she secured the refrigerator with a padlock and intentionally kept it minimally stocked, leading her neighbors to supply her with groceries.

Friends provided contradictory statements regarding whether Lynda Cruz was truly in financial distress or possessed wealth that she chose not to utilize.

In order to retrieve it, Cruz broke a window at least once. As a form of punishment, she would occasionally lock his video game console in her vehicle. This is what led him to destroy televisions and cause damage to walls – he had a fondness for online video games, particularly those with violent themes, but despised losing. Cruz’s mental health therapies were not completely covered by her insurance. In both situations, she had additional expenses that other parents did not have.

“She was slightly scared of him,” neighbor Paul Gold testified.

She showed a preference for him over his brother, and they did share a strong, frequently loving connection – Cruz and his mother. Friends confirmed that this was not entirely a pretense – Lynda Cruz described him as a mama’s boy, kind and affectionate, despite his outbursts, to teachers and counselors.

However, Zachary continued to be well-liked in the community while Cruz was the outsider – and not only among the younger generation.

Steven Schusler testified that shortly after moving nearby, his landlord called over the Cruz boys and pointed at Nikolas, then about 10.

Schusler mentioned, “Nicky, you’re not like any other woman, he’s quite peculiar.” Cruz resembled a snail when she sprinkled salt on it, her hair looked curled up.

Cruz’s behavior was occasionally aggressive and frequently peculiar. When he was 9 years old and struck a child in the head with a rock, a parent contacted the authorities. Following his dog’s death from consuming a toxic toad, he engaged in a rampage against the amphibians. His outbursts caused disruptions in middle school classes, and he adorned his homework with offensive language, symbols of hate, and depictions of explicit or violent acts.

Lynda Cruz complained that Forrest attempted to elucidate the significance of cleanliness to Nikolas, but he refused to bathe. This led to the involvement of case manager Tiffany Forrest from a social services agency, who was assigned to assist Lynda Cruz during her son’s adolescence.

“I bathed,” he informed Forrest.

With two patrons, Zachary currently resides in Virginia. Cruz’s lawyers are anticipated to provide evidence regarding his relocation to a school for individuals with psychological and behavioral difficulties, his duration at Stoneman Douglas, and summon his sibling to testify in the upcoming weeks.

Their mother passed away just under four months prior to the shooting.