The man accused of massacring 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School may have a small fortune coming to him from his late mother's estate. But Nikolas Cruz says he doesn't want it. "He would like that money donated to an organization that the victims' families believe would be able to facilitate the healing in our community," Cruz's public defender, Melissa McNeill, said Wednesday during a Broward County Circuit Court hearing. The 19-year-old was there as Judge Elizabeth Scherer tried to hash out whether he should continue to be represented by the public defender's office or actually has the means to retain a private attorney. The proceedings revealed that Cruz may be able to collect $25,000 from his late mother's life insurance policy—and potentially much more.
An annuity payment of $3,333 was deposited into Lynda Cruz's account in September; she died in November, and no payments have been deposited since. It's not clear if future payments are pending or whether they would go to Nikolas Cruz if so, reports the Sun Sentinel. If those payments continued regularly, they could total $800,000, reports ABC News, but McNeill says "it is my understanding there has been a delay in the administration of the estate, that it is ongoing. Mr. Cruz is … potentially a beneficiary of those funds." McNeill and her team, meanwhile, say they can't help Cruz expedite his financial situation. "We represent Mr. Cruz's interest as it relates to the criminal matter and … do not exchange or interact with our client's funds in any manner," she said.