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Nikolas Cruz’s defense attorneys ready to argue against death sentence

School Shooting Florida
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz listens to testimony while seated at the defense table during the penalty phase of his trial, Friday, July 22, 2022, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Cruz previously plead guilty to all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

(FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida)– Nikolas Cruz, the Stoneman Douglas High School shooter, has been in and out of court since 2018, and his defense team is now attempting to make sure he gets life in prison and not the death penalty.

Melissa McNeill, the Assistant Public Defender in the Homicide Division of Broward County’s Public Defenders, and Cruz’s lead public defender is set to give her opening remarks on Monday.

The defense team will present to the jury several traumas Nikolas Cruz endured as a child, along with his mother’s cocaine and alcohol use while she was pregnant.

They will also speak about his alleged sexual abuse by an unidentified “peer” and his adoptive father’s death at age 5.

Cruz’s brother and sister are also expected to take the stand and testify on his behalf, presenting firsthand testimony that Cruz suffered from a traumatic childhood.

A jury, made up of seven men and five women, will determine whether or not Cruz will be sentenced to death, or spend the rest of his life behind bars.