Nikolas Cruz's Assets Still In Question After New Hearing
Nikolas Cruz, the confessed shooter in the Parkland school massacre, was back in front of a Broward Circuit Court judge on Wednesday to determine if he can afford his own attorney or if he should keep his current public defender team.
Cruz sat motionless between two of his attorneys during his time in court, as he’s done during all of his previous hearings.
His adopted brother, Zachary Cruz, was also in the courtroom, watching from the crowd.
The legal team from the Broward Public Defender’s office representing Nikolas Cruz explained that it is still unknown right now how much money from his mother's estate he could be entitled to.
Investigators have been able to establish that there's $25,000 in life insurance money from Nikolas Cruz’s deceased mother that he doesn’t currently have access to, and a little more than $350 in a Wells Fargo savings account.
Any additional money he could be entitled to will be based on the lawsuits against his mother’s estate in a separate probate case.
Nikolas Cruz’s legal team also told the court that he does not wish to keep any possible inheritance.
“Whatever money that he is entitled to, he does not want that money," said public defender Melissa McNeill. "He would like that money donated to an organization that the victims’ families believe would be able to facilitate healing in our community, or an opportunity to educate our community about the issues that have ripened over the last four or five months.”
"Just so the court is aware, Mr. Cruz does not want those funds," McNeill said.
Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein went on to ask the court to do more investigating to clear up what funds Nikolas Cruz may be able to receive.
“What it would cost to hire a lawyer to handle the biggest case ever in the history of Broward County is far more than $25,000…We should have the probate lawyers or the probate judge inform the court how much money is there,” Finkelstein said.
The judge in Nikolas Cruz’s criminal case, Elizabeth Scherer, will decide where any future money of his can go.
She announced that she will wait to make a ruling on his assets until just before his next court appearance on April 27, when a tentative trial date will also be set.