He has courtroom outbursts down to a fine art.
Accused Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s lawyers gave him colored pencils and part of a Pokémon coloring book to soothe him after he burst into tears in court Wednesday, according to reports.
But the move was swiftly challenged by prosecutors and the drawing materials were taken away from him, causing him to sob even harder, according to CBS 12 and images of Cruz.
Cruz, 23 — who appeared in Fort Lauderdale court on charges that he beat a prison guard — first began weeping, blowing his nose and rubbing his head in anguish after potential jurors cried at the sight of him, according to tweets from Christina Boomer Vazquez, a journalist covering the trial.
A woman who appeared to be from Cruz’s defense team then handed him a page of a coloring book with the outline of the Pokémon character Pikachu along with the colored pencils to calm him, prompting a legal clash.
“We’re objecting to that, your honor. We believe that that is something that they’re doing so that the jury perceives that you know, he’s a child that he has some kind of his mentality is somehow challenged, we think that’s inappropriate and we object,” a prosecutor said.
Alleged Parkland gunman Nikolas Cruz cries in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, courtroom on Oct. 6, 2021. AP Nikolas Cruz’s defense attorney, Gabe Ermine, argued he was upset enough to warrant coloring books. AP Alleged Parkland school gunman Nikolas Cruz cries at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Oct. 6, 2021. AP
“Why does he need coloring pencils and drawing paper?” Judge Elizabeth Scherer asked — to which Cruz’s defense attorney, Gabe Ermine, responded, “He’s upset. He’s clearly upset. I am trying to keep him calm during this trial.”
The judge ultimately ordered that the arts and crafts be taken away form Cruz, saying he is only allowed to use prison-issued pens.
Ultimately, some potential jurors were dismissed after admitting they can’t be impartial to Cruz, who authorities say confessed to killing 17 and wounding 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018.
The legal team representing Nikolas Cruz encouraged him to color an outline of the Pokémon character Pikachu. AP Cruz, 22, is in court on charges that he beat a prison guard.AP Alleged Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz stands with his defense attorney, Gabe Ermine