Nikolas Cruz has expressed his desire to donate all the inheritance he is entitled to get from his late mother’s estate and insurance policy, according to Sun-Sentinel.
During an appearance in Broward Circuit Court on Wednesday, Cruz’s defense lawyer Melisa McNeill confirmed that the teenage suspect doesn’t want any money from his adoptive mother’s life insurance policy or any other source of income.
The 19-year-old gunman, who murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is allegedly determined to put the money to good use. According to the outlet, Cruz wants to donate his $800,000 inheritance to his victims’ families and organizations that could help educate the community about issues involving guns.
“He would like that money donated to an organization that the victims’ family believes 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.”
Cruz’s adoptive mother, Lynda, passed away in November 2017 after contracting flu, leaving a small fortune. Court documents revealed that the troubled teenager stands to receive his late mother’s life insurance policy worth $25,000.
Records also showed that Cruz had more than $12,000 in a bank account, but that amount was down to $353.43 as of April 5. The Parkland school shooter is also entitled to claim a portion of his mother’s 24 shares of Microsoft stock purchased in 2003.
According to reports, the shares are worth around $2,227. Apparently, Cruz’s mother received an annuity payment of $3,333 last September, but it remains unclear whether future payments are still pending.
If all the money is taken into account, Cruz is expected to gain as much as $800,000. However, McNeill reiterated that at this point, the public defender’s office could not help the suspect get access to the funds.
So far, it remains unclear what specific charity might receive Cruz’s inheritance. It is also unknown whether his victims’ families would even be willing to accept the donation.
Meanwhile, Cruz’s court hearing on Wednesday also discussed whether he is eligible to be represented by the Broward Public Defender’s Office, which handles clients who cannot afford to hire their own lawyers, ABC News reported.
Despite all the assets that Cruz could potentially claim, his team pointed out that his current finance would not be enough to hire a private lawyer to defend him against murder charges.
With that, Cruz’s lawyer repeated their offer that the suspect is prepared to plead guilty to all charges if the death penalty is taken off the table.
“I think it’s very important that you also consider that if you remove our office at this moment right now, in the highest profile case in America, the defendant is going to be left without a lawyer,” Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein told Judge Scherer. “From that will flow a myriad of legal problems, some for the defendant, some for the state, some for the court and some for the appellate courts.”
A decision about the case is expected to be released by April 27.
Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, killing 14 students and three faculty members. He is now facing 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder — both in the first-degree.