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Florida Shooter's Inheritance? $800,000 May Be Up for Grabs

Florida Shooter's Inheritance? $800,000 May Be Up for Grabs

Nikolas Cruz, 19, is seen on a closed-circuit television during a bond hearing in at the Broward County Courthouse on Feb. 15. (Susan Stocker - Pool/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 21 February 2018 10:35 AM

The Florida school shooter may have an $800,000 inheritance coming to him, but most of it may be up for grabs and land in the hands of private defense lawyers.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, told James and Kimberly Snead, the family he was living with at the time of the shooting, that he had a trust fund, most of which would be available to him when he turned 22, the Miami Herald reported.

Cruz's adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, died in November and Broward County assistant public defender Diane Cuddihy asked a judge in court filings to decide if the suspect was indigent, the Herald said.

"The kid was not hurting for money at any point," Jim Lewis, a lawyer representing the Sneads told the Herald. "Everyone knows about it. The question is if it’s available now."

Cruz remained jailed after a Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in which he is accused of using an AR-15 to kill 17 people and wounding 15 others. The incident renewed a nationwide debate on gun control measures.

The Herald said Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer would likely require Cruz to hire his own attorney if she determines that the defendant can access the money. If so, the public defender's office, which has offered to have Cruz plead guilty if prosecutors agreed to forgo the death penalty, would be off the case.

The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reported that after Lynda Cruz died, Nikolas Cruz and his brother Zachary, who turned 18 on Wednesday, lived with neighbor Rocxanne Deschamps in Lantana, Florida. Nikolas Cruz would later move on to live with the Sneads, the parents of one of his former classmates, per the Sun Sentinel.

Deschamps, who still cares for Zachary Cruz, filed in Broward Circuit Court to be named the personal representative of the Lynda Cruz's estate, the Sun Sentinel reported this week. Deschamps wrote in the two-page document that Lynda Cruz died Nov. 1 at 68 without a will.

Lynda Cruz's husband, Roger Cruz, died in 2004, the Sun Sentinel said, noting that the Cruz family's Parkland home sold in January 2017 for $575,000, according to property records.

The Herald said Lynda Cruz valued her late husband's estate at more than $1 million after he died of heart failure at 67, per probate court. She later filed a medical malpractice suit against a doctor and a clinic over his treatment before his death and received a settlement in 2008, the Herald said.

The Herald said a court-appointed attorney-ad litem was appointed in that case to determine the share Nikolas and Zachary Cruz would get as part of the settlement. The attorney-at litem had recommended the children get the entire amount, to be kept in an annuity until they were adults, the Herald noted.

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The Florida school shooter may have an $800,000 inheritance coming to him, but most of it may be up for grabs and land in the hands of private defense lawyers.
florida shooter, inheritance
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2018-35-21
Wednesday, 21 February 2018 10:35 AM
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