Sniggering killer Nikolas Cruz and 'punk child' lawyer Tamara Curtis slammed by Parkland victims' parents
PARKLAND, FLORIDA: A member of Nikolas Cruz's defense team is being looked into by the Florida Bar after she was caught on camera chummily giggling and laughing with the convicted mass murderer, Nikolas Cruz, and also flipping off the court cameras. Tamara Curtis, The news that Cruz's defense attorney, is under investigation for her conduct in court came a day after Cruz was given a life sentence but spared the capital penalty.
In 2018, Nikolas Cruz, 24, went on a shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring 17. However, his behavior in court was for the most part unremorseful and further compounded by how his defense team laughed and joked with him. One victim's dad accused Cruz's lawyers of losing their empathy for the victims last month as a result of her actions. The father of victim Jaime Guttenberg, 14, Fred Guttenberg reserved special ire for lawyer Tamara Curtis, declaring he would "never, ever forgive that moment," describing her actions as those of "an immature, punk child."
In the video, Curtis can first be seen pointing out a new camera setup to a coworker standing next to her. Cruz waves without looking at the camera before Curtis, her colleague, and Cruz appear to be talking about it. She then makes the decision to laugh with Cruz while pressing her middle finger to her face, ostensibly as a joke. Her coworker, meanwhile, makes an awkward attempt to move on from the conversation.
The investigation was announced during an agonizing two-day hearing during which the parents of the victims criticized Cruz's defense for their unprofessional conduct. Following the shooting death of their son Nicholas Dworet, Annika Dworet who was present for almost every day of the trial, blasted the defense lawyers for "'holding, touching, and giggling with this cold-blooded murderer." Dworet referred to the conduct as "disgusting and unprofessional." The father of the murdered Parkland teacher Scott Beigel, Michael Schulman, told Daily Mail that “This man, this animal, this piece of s**t, this b*****d took the lives of 17 people. You have a right to defend him. You have no right, no right to demean the people who lost somebody. None.”
Additionally, even Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer brought up the defense team's actions after they blamed the victims' families for personally attacking them. “I did my job, and every member of this team did our job, and we should not be personally attacked for that,” said Cruz's chief public defender, Melisa McNeill. Judge Scherer was so enraged by the remarks that she finally lost her cool and lashed out at the defense. “When these people are upset about specific things that have gone on from that table, like shooting the middle finger up at this court, and laughing, and joking. When these people have sat in this courtroom and watched this behavior from that table and they want to say that they’re not happy about it, what is the problem?” Scherer questioned. On November 3, the jury said that it could not come to a unanimous decision about the death penalty that would result in Cruz's execution. A unanimous decision on at least one count is required in Florida for a death sentence with life in prison being the only other choice.