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Expert witness concedes that Parkland shooter's mental capacity test scores were normal

Assistant State Attorney Mike Satz cross-examines Neuropsychologist Paul Connor, not shown, as Connor testifies via Zoom during the penalty phase of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. Connor evaluated Cruz for signs of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Spectrum Disorders. Cruz previously plead guilty to all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Pool
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Assistant State Attorney Mike Satz cross-examines Neuropsychologist Paul Connor, not shown, as Connor testifies via Zoom during the penalty phase of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. Connor evaluated Cruz for signs of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Spectrum Disorders. Cruz previously plead guilty to all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings.

Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz showed no lack of mental competence as he planned and carried out his attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a Broward prosecutor said Tuesday.

Assistant State Attorney Mike Satz reviewed the gunman’s actions while cross-examining neurologist Paul Connor, who testified Monday that Cruz lacked the ability to quickly shift the focus of his attention and had trouble solving problems and using his working memory.

Defense lawyers are portraying Cruz as the neurologically damaged victim of his mother’s heavy drinking, part of their bid to persuade jurors to spare him from the death penalty. But in cross-examination Tuesday, Satz got Connor to concede many of Cruz’s neurological test scores were in the normal range. Those scores were not discussed during Connor’s direct testimony Monday.

Read more at our news partner, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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David Fleshler
Rafael Olmeda