Parkland shooter entitled to hefty inheritance; public defender asks to withdraw from his case

The Broward Public Defender’s Office has asked to withdraw from confessed Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz’s death penalty case, court records show.

The teen is entitled to half of a nearly $865,000 life insurance policy as of April 23, the court filing shows.

Gordon Weekes, assistant public defender, said “We have to withdraw.”

The move will throw the criminal case off track. The judge had hoped to begin trial in January.

Weekes said the public defender’s office just got new information that Cruz and his brother are to share in the life insurance policy, presumably for their mother, who died unexpectedly of a flu-like illness in November 2017.

The court will have to determine who his new counsel will be, Weekes said.

The Public Defender’s Office is appointed in cases in which people are indigent. Someone with $400,000 is not indigent.

“I’m sure it will require some time for counsel to get up to speed, but I want to be 100 percent clear — this delay should not be attributed to the defense or to Nikolas Cruz. He was unaware of this money. We were unaware of this,” Weekes said.

It’s unclear when or how Cruz, 20, who is locked up in the Broward jail, will get the money.

Weekes said the public defender’s office is prohibited from helping him.

Cruz had previously said he wanted any money he was due to go to the victims, Weekes noted.

Weekes said his office will share certain material with the new defense attorney, but it will be up to the new lawyers to determine their strategy for Cruz’s defense.

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