Prosecutors show videos of psychiatrist’s sessions with Parkland school shooter

Dr. Charles L. Scott, a forensic psychiatrist with the University of California, continued his testimony on Monday and included videos of his examinations with the Parkland school shooter.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.Dr. Charles L. Scott, a forensic psychiatrist with the University of California, continued his testimony about the Parkland school shooter’s symptoms of sociopathy on Monday.

Scott said Nikolas Cruz’s record at school, from preschool until before the crime, shows he had an “ability to control” his behavior when “he wanted to.”

Scott also said Cruz’s “premeditated acts of aggression” and interests are characteristic of anti-social personality disorder — and not of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, as the defense argued.

“They disparage others. They have a lack of remorse about harming or hurting other people,” Scott said after mentioning Cruz’s racist, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic comments.

SESSIONS IN JAIL

Prosecutors played videos of Scott’s sessions with Cruz in March at the Broward County jail. Cruz willingly talked to Scott about the 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“The evidence is extremely strong that this was planned, premeditated, thought out,” Scott said later adding Cruz chose Valentine’s Day, “because he had no one to love and no one to love him.”

Cruz was in handcuffs and sitting across from Scott when he told him during a March 2 session in jail that he first became interested in school shootings at 13 or 14 years old and thoroughly researched the subject.

“I studied mass murderers and how they did it, like their plans, what they got and what they used,” Cruz told Scott.

Cruz described his preparation ahead of the MSD shooting. He said he wore a maroon Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps shirt as a “disguise” to “blend in.”

SIGNS OF A ‘SOCIOPATH’

Without displaying any emotion, Cruz also said he shot a girl in the back twice as she attempted to flee on the stairs on Feb. 14, 2018, at MSD’s 1200 building.

“I wanted to shoot as many people as I could,” Cruz told Scott.

Cruz said some of his victims gave him “nasty” looks and in a matter-of-fact way described what happened to his last victim: “His head blew up like a water balloon.”

Cruz said he stopped shooting after he couldn’t break a window at the teacher’s lounge to shoot at the crowd during the school’s evacuation.

“I couldn’t find anyone to kill. I didn’t want to do it anymore,” Cruz told Scott.

Scott said records of Cruz’s online searches showed he had other “deviant interests” such as child porn, which he said, “can be a part” of ASPD. Scott also diagnosed Cruz with borderline personality disorder, which can result in impulsive actions, and malingering, intentionally engaging in false behavior.

CASE STATUS

The prosecution also called Kyle James Horrigan, who took a picture of Cruz’s red backpack marked with a hateful message in 2016, and Robert L. Denney, a neuropsychologist who is board certified in both clinical neuropsychology and forensic psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology.

“There are seven people who have both board certifications ... in the world,” Denney said.

Denney is scheduled to continue his testimony on Tuesday. Scherer said the court was in recess until 9 a.m., and she asked both the jury and attorneys to be in court by 8:30 a.m.

The prosecution rested on Aug. 4 after calling 91 witnesses in 12 days, and the public defenders who are trying to save his life rested on Sept. 14 after calling 26 witnesses in 11 days. The prosecution’s rebuttal, the state’s effort to disprove Cruz’s defense, began on Sept. 27.

Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder last year. This allowed only two sentences: Life in prison without the possibility of parole or death. Florida requires a jury’s unanimous vote for execution, so the defense only needs to convince one of the 12 jurors.

Watch the 6 p.m. report

Dr. Charles L. Scott, a forensic psychiatrist with the University of California, continued his testimony about the Parkland school shooter’s symptoms of sociopathy on Monday.

Watch the 5 p.m. report

Dr. Charles L. Scott, a forensic psychiatrist with the University of California, continued his testimony about the Parkland school shooter’s symptoms of sociopathy on Monday.

Watch the 4 p.m. report

Dr. Charles L. Scott, a forensic psychiatrist with the University of California, continued his testimony on Monday and included videos of his examinations with the Parkland school shooter.

Watch Dr. Scott’s testimony on Sept. 27

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About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.