Nikolas Cruz is in line for a hefty inheritance, but he may be ordered to spend it on legal bills.
Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who has confessed to killing 17 students and adults when he opened fire inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is set to inherit $800,000 from his late adoptive parents, but new reports suggest that he may be ordered to spend that money on defense attorneys.
According to the Miami Herald, Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer will likely require the 19-year-old, who stands charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, to hire his own attorney should he receive the money from his parents’ estate. Florida law also allows for the Public Defender to charge someone after a case is finished, meaning that any money that Cruz may inherit will likely be spent of legal bills.
“The public is still protected if he comes into money at some later time. The Public Defenders would be reimbursed the cost of its services,” said retired Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Scott Silverman, who is not involved in the case, which could be among the costliest in Broward County.
It has also been reported that a probate case has been opened in the death of Lynda Cruz, the 19-year-old’s mother, who died of pneumonia on Nov. 1. The Public Defender’s Office is requesting that a judge review the various financials that Cruz is set to inherit to determine if Cruz, who had previously been deemed indigent by a county clerk, is still eligible for a court-appointed lawyer. Funds from his mother’s estate or a possible life insurance policy could disqualify him from having his lawyer fees paid.
Cruz has confessed to killing 17 students and adults and injuring more than a dozen after he opened fire with an AR-15 inside of the Parkland, Florida high school. He now faces 17 counts of premeditated murder.