Killer’s mother and stepfather testify in defense of Sebring Murderer

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Following his admission to the murders of five women in Sebring, Zephen Xaver’s lawyers called his parents to the stand in their aim to avoid the death penalty.

On Tuesday, Xaver’s defense team continued their argument that he should not be sentenced to the death penalty for his crime of murdering the women inside a Sebring bank in 2019.

Xaver was admitted multiple times to a psychiatric facility, his own mother claiming to notice a behavioral shift around his teenage years, calling his behavior “different” and sometimes even “creepy.”

This behavior, however, did not prevent her from allowing him to buy a gun.

Counselors, psychiatric hospitals, medications, all of these steps and measures didn’t stop Xaver from taking the lives of five women in 2019.

The jury heard emotional testimony, diving into Xaver’s past with statements from his mother once again and his former stepfather, with the hopes of showing his human side.

Xaver’s mother, Misty Hendricks, took the stand for a second time this week and detailed some bone-chilling information regarding the red flags from her son’s childhood.

After being asked if she was bothered when her son was expelled from school after telling his high school nurse he had a dream of shooting up the school, Hendricks claimed she was fine with it.

“[B]ecause you can’t help what you dream … and he dreamt about shooting apparently, and never in a million years did I think that it would ever come true,” Hendricks said.

Michael Mitchell lived with Zephen Xaver for three years and was married to his mother for one.

He told the jury through tears that he loved Xaver like his own son, and when asked whether he still cared for him he said, “I love him … I love him.”

Xaver sat quietly in court while hearing from teachers and family friends who recounted the well-behaved and shy boy they once knew.

However, as Mitchell testified virtually, Xaver showed signs of humanity, his hands fidgeted as his face was blank, his stare remaining locked on his former stepfather.

The defense plans on calling more witnesses as the court case progresses.

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