Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz's birth mother was a violent criminal and his half-sister is behind bars for attempted murder of a police officer, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.
Up until recently, the history of Cruz's birth family was sealed by statute, but now it could be used to keep him off Florida's Death Row for allegedly killing 17 students and teachers when he opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.
His birth mother, Brenda Woodard, was reportedly a drug addict arrested for buying crack cocaine while pregnant with Cruz.
In 2010, she was arrested for allegedly beating a companion with a tire iron, The Miami Heral reported.
In total, Brenda Woodard was arrested 28 times, while her daughter, Danielle Woodard — Cruz's older sister — has been arrested 17 times and is currently serving an eight-year sentence on charges including the second-degree attempted murder of a police officer.
She has also been charged for bringing weapons to school.
Cruz's birth family's history is in stark contrast to the life of his adoptive family, who reportedly paid $50,000 to adopt him from Brenda Woodard when he was 3 days old, RadarOnline noted.
Despite his comfortable upbringing, Cruz was a troubled teen who had disciplinary issues dating to middle school, NBC News noted.
He admitted to attempting suicide and told investigators voices told him to "burn, kill, destroy."
Evidence strongly suggests Cruz was the Parkland shooter, and the defense team will likely focus on mitigating factors that might persuade a jury to spare his life, The Miami Herald said.
The Broward Public Defender's Office may explore Cruz's genetic makeup and childhood development and how they may have contributed to the tragedy.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.