Parkland Shooter public defenders seek to step down as Cruz will inherit the money
With the pending payment of a parent’s life insurance policy, the self-confessed school shooter from Parkland, Fla. Could get more than $ 430,000. He therefore no longer has the right to be represented free of charge by a public defender, his lawyers said on Wednesday in a court case asking to withdraw from the case.
“It has been brought to the attention of the undersigned lawyer that Nikolas Cruz is the beneficiary of a MetLife life insurance policy and is entitled to one-half of a death benefit worth 864,929.17 $ as of April 23, 2019, “the Broward County Public Defender’s Office wrote.
“The public defender’s law firm is statutorily prohibited from representing a non-indigent defendant,” the lawyers said, asking to withdraw from the case.
Last April, Judge Elizabeth Scherer declared Cruz “indigent” for the purposes of the case because even though he had a net worth of $ 28,000, that would not be enough to cover his defense costs. The state compensates court-appointed defense attorneys up to $ 25,000 for cases where the potential penalty is death. “The cost of the private performance would certainly far exceed $ 25,000, as the defendant is charged with seventeen separate counts of first degree murder and faces the death penalty for each of the seventeen counts. “Scherer wrote.
Scherer went on to say that she would reconsider the issue of indigence “in the event that there is a change in circumstances, and the defendant receives a sum of money (from her mother’s estate or otherwise), which would give him the option of retaining the services of a private lawyer.
The public defender and Cruz both knew he would be entitled to the life insurance money – they mentioned this in documents filed last year. But neither was aware of the amount of the payment, the public defender wrote. The money probably comes from the insurance policy of Cruz’s mother, who died three months before the shooting.
Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. Seventeen others were injured. Cruz is charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. Prosecutors are while searching the death penalty.
“My blood is boiling” wrote Fred Guttenberg, father of Jaime, who was killed in the attack. “That will only cause more delay. I’m furiously mad right now.” He said he would ask his lawyers to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the shooter so that the money can go to the families of the victims.
The judge said she wanted the trial to begin in January 2020. With the request for the withdrawal of public defenders, the timing is now uncertain.