Walking her dog, chatting with friends and puffing away on a cigarette, this silver-haired mother-of-three looks like any other carefree Florida retiree.
But these are the first pictures of Brenda Woodard – the crack-smoking, ex-con who is the biological mother of Parkland shooting monster Nikolas Cruz.
Career criminal Woodard gave Cruz and his brother Zachary up for adoption when they were newborn babies and has not spoken to them in the two decades since.
The 62-year-old was similarly reluctant to acknowledge her son or address his deadly gun rampage when DailyMail.com tracked her down this week to a federal housing complex in Dania Beach.
Woodard – who was busted for crack possession while pregnant with Cruz – could be called to testify at his sentencing in the event he’s found guilty of first-degree murder.
The biological mother of high school gunman Nikolas Cruz has been pictured for the first time while smoking a cigarette on the door step of her Dania Beach, Florida home
Brenda Woodard, 62, was reluctant to acknowledge her son or address his deadly gun rampage when DailyMailTV tracked her down this week
The tattoo former addict then rang her attorney who advised her not to answer a string of questions put to her by DailyMailTV. ‘You’ve already cooked me. You’ve fried me in a frying pan. I’m the one-woman wrecking team,’ she told our reporter
But the ex-felon refused point blank to say whether her warped offspring deserves the death penalty for wiping out 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14 last year.
‘I’m not supposed to be talking to you,’ Woodard told DailyMailTV on the doorstep of her taxpayer-subsidized apartment, before launching into a defiant rant.
‘You’ve already cooked me. You’ve fried me in a frying pan. I’m the one-woman wrecking team,’ she added.
The tattooed former addict then rang her attorney who advised her not to answer a string of questions put to her by DailyMail.com.
‘No comment,’ she finally barked before sparking up another smoke and ordering our reporter off the property.
Cruz will end up on Florida’s death row unless his attorneys can convince jurors his upbringing was so pitiful and disadvantaged that he should be jailed for life instead.
And their plea is likely to reference the 20-year-old’s simmering resentment at being abandoned by his biological mom whose explosive temper once saw her charged with attacking a friend with a tire iron.
Woodard has been arrested at least 28 times and has been in and out of jail for a litany of offenses since her first charge for cocaine possession in 1988.
Over the subsequent three decades she amassed a sprawling rap sheet that includes battery, burglary, resisting arrest, theft, trespassing and panhandling.
Cruz appeared at a court hearing on Wednesday shackled and sporting oversized eye-glasses
Cruz will end up on Florida’s death row unless his attorneys can convince jurors his upbringing was so pitiful and disadvantaged that he should be jailed for life instead
Indeed, the mother-of-three was said to be so familiar with the workings of the Broward County, Florida court system that one acquaintance dubbed her ‘The Judge’.
In June 1998 Woodard was six months pregnant with Nikolas when cops in Fort Lauderdale busted her for possession of crack cocaine.
The highly-addictive drug is known to heighten the risk of miscarriage and can cause developmental problems in babies.
Woodard spent six days in jail but was released on three years’ probation subject to urine testing and Nikolas, her second child, was born September 24, 1998.
Her decision to give the baby boy up for adoption meant that Cruz escaped his law-breaker mom’s malign influence.
The same was true for his brother Zachary, who was born around one year later and was taken in by the same couple, insurance executive Roger Cruz and his wife Lynda.
However the boys’ half-sister Danielle, who is 11 years older than Cruz, wasn’t spared the chaos, drugs and dysfunction of her mother’s lifestyle.
She lived with Woodard as a young child until being taken into the care of her grandmother when her mom spent a spell in jail.
When the grandmother died, however, Danielle was taken into foster care at age 12.
She stole her first car a year later and was soon living on the streets, according to records obtained by the Miami Herald.
Both Nikolas (pictured as a baby) and his brother Zachary were adopted by Lynda Cruz (pictured) and her insurance executive husband Roger Cruz – who have both passed
Last month, DailyMail.com exclusively revealed Nikolas mocked Lynda’s liberal beliefs and loathing for President Trump by placing a Make America Great Again hat on an urn containing her cremated remains
In a chilling echo of her younger brother’s killing spree, Danielle was also arrested in June 2003 for taking a firearm into her school.
By then she had embarked on a life of crime that would become every bit as deplorable as her mother’s, racking up arrests for battery with a deadly weapon, car theft, elder abuse and cocaine possession.
Danielle is currently a 32-year-old inmate at Lowell Annex prison in Ocala, Florida where she is serving eight years for credit card fraud, cocaine possession and the attempted second degree murder of a police officer.
She, Zachary and Nikolas Cruz are believed to have three different fathers and there’s no evidence that the two brothers have ever communicated with their sister or their mother.
The only family member reported to have visited Cruz has been 18-year-old Zachary, who described his brother’s shooting spree as ‘a cry for help’ and insisted Cruz was mentally ill in a May 2018 interview.
Woodard appears to have largely stayed out of trouble in the past decade, having undergone programs to beat her drink and drug habits and had jobs at Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma and The Fresh Market.
Her last serious brush with the law came in 2010 when she was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon on her roommate at a senior living complex in Hallandale Beach.
Woodard has been arrested at least 28 times and has been in and out of jail for a litany of offenses since her first charge for cocaine possession in 1988
Woodard appears to have largely stayed out of trouble in the past decade, having undergone programs to beat her drink and drug habits and had jobs at Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma and The Fresh Market
In June 1998 Woodard was six months pregnant with Nikolas when cops in Fort Lauderdale busted her for possession of crack cocaine
Woodard has lived at a subsidized Department of Housing and Urban Development apartment complex for disabled people in Dania Beach, 20 miles south of Parkland for the past three years
‘Defendant Woodard intentionally struck her several times with a tire iron in the head,’ read a police report into the December 4 attack.
‘I observed a laceration approximately 2 inches in length to the back of the victim’s head which was producing a large quantity of blood.
‘I further observed a laceration to the victim’s forehead and scratches to the victim’s face.’
The charge was eventually downgraded to simple battery when the victim withdrew her support for the prosecution and Woodard asked to do community service instead of paying a $875 fine.
In 2011 she was fined for shoplifting while an arrest that same year for misdemeanor battery – her most recent – was dropped.
Woodard’s last serious brush with the law came in 2010 when she was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon on her roommate at a senior living complex in Hallandale Beach
For the past three years, Woodard has lived at a subsidized Department of Housing and Urban Development apartment complex for disabled people in Dania Beach, 20 miles south of Parkland.
There, the reclusive former addict, spends her afternoons smoking cigarettes and chatting to her mostly elderly neighbors.
Her mobility is limited due to degenerative disk disease but she occasionally ventures out to walk her dog or to greet the delivery man who brings her meals.
Court records show Woodard was receiving $752 a month in social security benefits in 2015.
In 2017 she sought but was refused a restraining order against another resident for alleged stalking after they argued over their dogs fighting one another in their shaded communal courtyard
The same neighbor counter-sued but his bid was similarly thrown out according to court documents, which listed Woodard as 5ft 3in and weighing 300lbs.
Cruz and his brother Zachary enjoyed a stable, well-to-do suburban upbringing, punctuated by the loss of their adoptive father Roger to a heart condition in 2004.
Then in November 2017, three months before Cruz embarked on his mass shooting, homemaker Lynda died from pneumonia.
Cruz had regularly clashed with his adoptive mother over his love of semi-automatic firearms and his violent temper tantrums.
DailyMail.com exclusively revealed last month how he mocked Lynda’s liberal beliefs and loathing for President Trump by placing a Make America Great Again hat on an urn containing her cremated remains.
The MAGA headgear was inside the Cruz family mausoleum when it was sealed up, ensuring it would remain with Democrat-voting Lynda, 58, ‘in the afterlife.’
Disturbing footage of the 2018 high school massacre was released earlier this month. Cruz is seen roaming the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR-15
Cruz killed 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14 last year
Just four people had turned up to pay their respects – Nikolas, Zachary, Rocxanne Deschamps, a close friend who briefly took the boys in after Lynda’s death, and Deschamps’ then partner, Paul Gold.
At the time Gold thought Cruz’s hat gesture was a misguided attempt at honoring Lynda’s memory but a high school friend would later reveal a more sinister reason for the stunt.
Hunter McCutcheon said Cruz clashed with his ‘liberal anti-gun type’ mom and wanted to have the last word on their political differences.
‘Due to the fact that his mother hated Donald Trump he put it in her casket with her when she died and took a picture of her with the hat,’ McCutcheon told police in a 425-page report released last month.
It was one of numerous unsettling incidents that campaigners say should have alerted authorities to the mentally disturbed teen’s deadly intentions.
Cruz denies 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.
Prosecutors have demanded a speedy trial but were warned Monday at a Broward County Court hearing that similar murder cases can take up to two years.
PICTURED: Fourteen students, geography teacher, coach and athletic director shot dead in Florida high school massacre
Jaime Guttenberg, 14, (left) was described by relatives as a ‘kind-hearted, sweet’ girl. She attended the school with her younger brother who survived and rushed home afterwards. Senior Nicholas Dworet (right) was a gifted swimmer who had his sights set on 2020 Tokyo Olympics success. His devastated college student girlfriend is among those grieving his death. Friends said he was not just a talented athlete, but a ‘good guy’ who will be missed
Martin Duque, 14, (left) was missing for hours on Wednesday and his frantic family desperately appealed for him to get in touch on social media. On Thursday, his older brother Miguel confirmed his death. Martin was a freshman. Meadow Pollack, 18, (right) was preparing for college. Her father was at the school on Wednesday and showed her photograph around in the hope that she would be found alive
Cara Loughran (left) was missing on Wednesday afternoon. Her mother Denise and her father rushed to the designated hotel where parents were told to go to be reunited with their children in the hope that she would be found alive. Her grieving neighbor confirmed her death on Thursday. Alyssa Alhadeff, 15, (right) was eulogized by her mother who said she was a talented soccer player and creative mind. ‘All she had to offer the world was love… I just sent her to school and she was shot and killed,’ she said
Luke Hoyer, 15, (left) was described as a ‘precious’ child by his grandparents who confirmed his death. They found out about the shooting on television. They said he was a ‘good kid’ who ‘never got in trouble’. Joaquin Oliver, 17, (right) was also killed. Joaquin was a Venezuelan immigrant who came to the US with his family for a ‘better future’, they said on Thursday
Gina Montalto, 15, (left) was described as a ‘light and joy’. She and Jaime, another victim, volunteered at a local project called The Friendship Initiative where they acted as buddies for children with special needs. Gina’s mother Jennifer shared pleas to find her on social media on Wednesday. Alaina Petty, 14, (right) was also killed. Her Mormon church confirmed her death, saying she was a ‘valiant’ member
Carmen Schentrup, 16, (left) was also killed in the shooting. Carmen was a gifted student who last year was named as a semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. It includes students who score above average in their SATs or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. ROTC student Peter Wang, 15, (right) also died. His parents speak little English and relied on their neighbor to post social media appeals looking for him. They went to the Marriott hotel with other parents to wait for news of him on Wednesday night and have since confirmed that he was among those killed
Alex Schachter, 14, (left) was also killed. His mother died when he was a child and he attended the school in Florida with his brother, who survived. The teenager’s father Max said he was a ‘sweetheart of a child’ who ‘just wanted to do well and please his parents’. Helena Ramsey, 17, (right) was described by relatives as a ‘reserved’ and studious girl who was due to go to college next year
Geography Scott Beigel, 35, (left) was shot dead as he tried to lock the door of his classroom again after letting a group of fleeing students in to hide. They were running away from the gunman. Aaron Feis, 37, (right) died acting as a human shield. The track coach had thrown himself on top of the kids to stop the bullets from hitting him. He was a former student and was also a security guard at the school where he had worked for eight years
Athletic director Chris Hixon, 49, was also killed shielding students