FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Controversy is brewing in court involving the confessed Parkland shooter, who’s on trial for a jailhouse brawl. It has to do with him coloring during the case.
Prosecutors said the defense is trying to make Nikolas Cruz seem more childlike to potential jurors. They saw him coloring, a claim that caused a clash in court.
It’s day two of jury selection in the first of two trials for Cruz, who’s charged with battery for an attack caught on surveillance video involving a deputy at the Broward County Jail in 2018.
Before jury selection even began, Cruz listened as prosecutors accused his defense team of trying to use colored pencils to make him seem more childlike in front of potential jurors.
“We’re objecting to that, Your Honor. We believe that is exactly what they’re doing so that the jury perceives that he is a child and his mentality is somehow challenged. We think that’s inappropriate,” said prosecutor Maria Schneider.
The defense denied those claims.
“So my question is, why does he need colored pencils and drawing paper?” asked Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer.
“Because he is clearly upset. He’s visibly upset right now,” said defense attorney Gabe Ermine. “I’m trying to keep him calm during this trial. The defense is not doing this for any nefarious reason other than trying to keep my client calm.”
The judge didn’t buy it and sided with prosecutors.
“As far as coloring pictures on a picture book, that does not assist him or you in selecting a fair and impartial jury,” Scherer said.
After that, jury proceedings continued.
If convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer, Cruz could spend 15 years in prison.
“You’re not being asked to serve as a juror on the Parkland shooting case,” Scherer said. “This is a different case, it is a separate incident, and it has nothing to do with the Parkland school shooting.”
Cruz faces the death penalty if convicted in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre case.
A date for the Parkland shooting trial has not yet been set.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.