A mental health expert shared that Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz believes that he may one day be released from prison.

He admitted to killing three staff members and 14 students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, 2018. According to New York Post, the 23-year-old is now in the penalty face of his trial, where jurors will decide whether he gets a death sentence or life without parole, so either way, he will never be free.

Surveillance video showed him gunning down his victims with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle. He confessed, and eventually pled guilty in October.

According to Daily Mail, Cruz's defense team have roped in a mental health expert they hope might be able to point to how he still has "irrational thoughts." During one conversation with the expert, Wesley Center, the shooter spoke of plans for a life outside of jail where he would help those with mental health issues. Center, who is a Texas counselor, said that the discussion with Cruz happened at the Broward County jail in 2021. It took place as he fitted his scalp with probes for a scan to map Cruz’s brain.

Center told prosecutors during a pretrial interview this year that transcripts showed that Cruz had "some sort of epiphany while he was in (jail) that would focus his thoughts on being able to help people." He said that the shooter's "life's purpose was to be helping others."

The Associated Press reported that the defense team at hearings this week will try to convince Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that Center and other experts should be allowed to testify at Cruz’s ongoing trial. They could testify about what their tests showed, something that the prosecution wants barred. The defense team hopes to present the “quantitative electroencephalogram” of Cruz’s brain.

They said that it shows evidence of fetal alcohol syndrome and other deficits. They plan to use the evidence to bolster their case that Cruz’s badly compromised mental health and traumatic upbringing are factors in the massacre, and that a sentence of life in jail is sufficient.

Prosecutors have already made their argument for death to the five-woman and seven-man jury and 10 alternates over three weeks. They showed jurors graphic footage of the killer’s rampage. They also called a parade of shattered family members to the stand. They rested their case Aug. 4 after the panel toured the still-bloodstained, bullet-pocked classroom building where the fatal shooting happened.

Nikolas Cruz
Nikolas Cruz attends the penalty phase of his trial on July 27, 2022 at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Cruz previously pleaded guilty to all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Photo by Mike Stocker-Pool/Getty Images