Future of Florida Shooter's Big Trust Fund in Judge's Hands

Nikolas Cruz reportedly due $800K inheritance
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2018 2:57 PM CST
Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Monday, Feb. 19, 2018.   (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

(Newser) – The 19-year-old man suspected of killing 17 people at a Florida high school last week is reportedly poised to inherit $800,000 being kept in a trust fund when he turns 22. At least that's what Nikolas Cruz told the family he was living with after his mother died of respiratory illness in November, the Miami Herald reports. “The kid was not hurting for money at any point," a lawyer for the family says. “Everyone knows about [the trust fund]." Cruz's father Roger died of heart failure in 2004; a year later his estate was valued at more than $1 million. In 2008 Cruz's mother Lynda reached a medical malpractice settlement over Roger's death. Prior to her death she sold the family home for $575,000.

If Cruz is indeed in line for a massive inheritance, a judge could force him to use the money to hire a private lawyer to defend him. Cruz is currently being represented by the Public Defender's Office, which is funded by taxpayers. The Public Defender's Office asked a judge Tuesday to help figure out how much money Cruz may have. If Cruz comes into the money later, he could be forced to pay back the Public Defender's Office, reimbursing taxpayers, for what is certain to be an expensive trial. The Public Defender's Office has admitted Cruz's guilt and offered to plead guilty for the shooting at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table. Read the full story here.

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