The extensive criminal and drug abuse history of Parkland school suspect Nikolas Cruz’s biological mother could be a key factor in whether he is sentenced to die for the massacre that killed 17 people, legal experts and officials say.
The mother, 62-year-old Brenda Woodard, played no role in Cruz’s upbringing after giving him up for adoption after he was born. But her past, which included a crack cocaine purchase arrest while she was pregnant with Cruz, will almost certainly be brought up for a jury considering whether he should live or die.
“It is not necessarily her past, but how her past contributed to his genetic makeup,” said David S. Weinstein, a former state and federal prosecutor now in private practice. “Her use of drugs and alcohol while she was pregnant with him, and how her genetic makeup was passed on to him.” (Read more from “Cruz’s Mother to Be Determining Factor on Death Penalty for School Shooter” HERE)