Zachary Cruz, the brother of Parkland, Florida gunman Nikolas Cruz, was sentenced to probation for trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the same school where his older brother killed 17 people in February.
Cruz was in court on Thursday, where he pleaded guilty to trespassing on the school grounds earlier this month. Judge Melinda Brown sentenced him to six months of probation, and cannot possess firearms and ammunition, reports the Palm Beach Post.
Cruz also cannot go within a mile of the Parkland high school, and was barred from contacting victims of the shootings.
The 18-year-old Cruz was arrested on March 19, a little more than a month after the Feb. 14 shooting. According to the arrest report, Cruz told officers he was there to "reflect on the school shooting and soak it in."
On March 20, Cruz was ordered held on $500,000 bond, and the judge used a new state law passed after the shooting, keeping Cruz from possessing guns and ammunition.
Cruz's lawyers argued against the high bond, since a trespassing offence usually comes with a $25 bond. But prosecutors said Cruz showed many of the same "red flags" as Nicholas Cruz, as his parents are both deceased and he lives with a temporary guardian. Prosecutor Sarahnell Murphy also said Cruz spoke with his brother in jail, telling him he would be "popular" and girls would consider him "hot," reports WPBF.
Cruz’s lawyer, Joseph Kimok, called Cruz's 10 days in custody "unlawful and unconstitutional."
"He’s going home, which is where he belongs," Kimok said. "It’s a frustrating day for justice. Zachary Cruz pleaded to this case in order to get out of jail, and the reason that he was in jail is because he had a half-million-dollar bond the judge set on a trespass case. Because of that half-million-dollar bond, he spent the last 10 days behind a locked door in a jumpsuit."
Kimok continued, "The fundamental premise of our criminal justice system is that you are innocent until proven guilty. But when a judge sets a bond so high that you have to plead guilty in order to get out of jail, that premise is destroyed."0comments
The Cruz brothers have the same biological mother, but different fathers. They were adopted by Roger and Lynda Cruz. Lynda died in November, and Roger died in 2004.
Nikolas is still in prison, charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. According to CBS News, his attorneys say he will plead guilty in exchange to life in prison, but prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty.