School shooters’ lawyers drop controversial brain research – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – Lawyers for Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz reversed course on Wednesday, saying they will not present the results of his pending criminal trial from a highly controversial brain study, which they said supports their claim that the mass murderer is suffering from fetal alcohol. syndrome.

Cruz attorney Casey Secor told Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that they will not show the jury the controversial “quantitative electroencephalogram” or qEEG tests that Cruz received last year. The exam’s sponsors say it provides helpful support for diagnoses such as fetal alcohol syndrome, which Cruz’s attorneys claim caused his lifelong mental and emotional problems. Prosecutors and critics say the test is unproven or even junk.

“We don’t rely on those kinds of scans and comparisons,” Secor told the judge. He did not explain the decision.

Cruz’s lawyers say fetal alcohol syndrome is a factor leading to his February 14, 2018 attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, which killed 14 students and three staff members. The parties were poised to argue over the qEEG results for Scherer this week, with no jury present before the defense began its case on Monday with the opening statement from its lawyers.

Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty in October to 17 first-degree murders — the trial is only to decide whether the former Stoneman Douglas student will be sentenced to death or life without parole.

The qEEG study is an extension of electroencephalograms, or EEGs, which have been common in medicine for a century. Brain waves are measured to help doctors diagnose epilepsy and other brain disorders.

But qEEG analysis, which has been around since the 1970s, goes one step further: a patient’s EEG results are compared with a database of brain waves from normal or ‘neurotypic’ people. While qEEG findings can’t be used to diagnose, they can support findings based on the patient’s history, exam, behavior and other tests, supporters claim.

Cruz’s prosecutors and other critics say the tests have never been proven to be valid and that two exams on the same person can have very different results. That’s what happened to Cruz.

The defense will still have evidence about Cruz’s troubled life and emotional and mental problems to present to the jury of seven men, five women and 10 deputies.

Lead defense attorney Melisa McNeill and her team will try to convince at least one juror that the extenuating circumstances of Cruz’s life outweigh the aggravating factors the prosecutors presented during their case, which began July 18 and rested on August 4. or else Cruz will get life. A juror can also vote for life out of mercy for Cruz.

They have statements from his deceased biological mother that she abused alcohol and cocaine during pregnancy. They also have reports that provide circumstantial evidence of his mental illness. Cruz was kicked out of kindergarten for hurting other kids. During his years in public school, he spent a lot of time in a center for students with emotional problems. He also received years of mental health.

Then there are his living conditions. Cruz’s adoptive father died before his eyes when he was 5, he was bullied by his younger brother and his brother’s friends, he was allegedly sexually abused by a ‘trusted peer’, he cut himself and abused animals, and his adoptive mother died less than four months before the shooting.

His childhood will also be an issue – he was 19 when the shooting happened.

The defense will attempt to refute the horrific evidence presented by the prosecution, capped by the jurors’ Aug. 4 visit to the three-story building that Cruz stalked for seven minutes with his AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle. about 150 shots through hallways and classrooms. The judges saw dried blood on floors and walls, bullet holes in doors and windows, and remains of Valentine’s Day balloons, flowers and cards.

Prosecutors also presented graphic surveillance videos of the massacre; gruesome crime scene and autopsy photos from its aftermath; emotional testimonials from teachers and students who witnessed the deaths of others; and four days of tearful and angry statements from parents, spouses, and other relatives about the victims and how their loved one’s death affected their lives. Jurors also watched a video in which Cruz calmly ordered an Icee minutes after the shooting and assaulted a security guard nine months later.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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