WATCH LIVE: Parkland school shooter’s defense to continue calling witnesses

Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer, who is presiding over the Parkland school shooter’s death penalty phase, said the court was in recess until 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

Prosecutors rested their case on Aug. 4, after calling 91 witnesses in 12 days, including the 17 injured on Feb. 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

On Monday, Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill delivered her opening statement and she and her team called the first three witnesses: Carolyn Deakins, Danielle Woodard, and Susan Hendler-Lubar.

Deakins and Woodard both claimed to have witnessed Cruz’s biological mother, Brenda Woodard, using cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol while pregnant with Cruz. Susan Hendler-Lubar, a special education teacher, said Cruz had developmental delays and language impairments during pre-school.

“His brain was irretrievably broken to no fault of his own,” McNeill said during her opening statement.

The defense needs only one of the 12 jurors to oppose the death sentence, so Cruz is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in October.

This is a developing story.

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