Parkland shooter’s attorneys want judge to remove them

The Broward Public Defender’s Office doesn’t think it should represent the Parkland shooter anymore because his inheritance can be used to pay for a private attorney. It is asking a judge Wednesday to remove its attorneys from the case.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer will hear the public defender’s arguments during an 11 a.m. hearing.

Nikolas Cruz, accused of killing 17 and wounding 17 others in the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is expected to receive $432,000 from his late mother’s insurance policy.

But families of the shooting victims are also seeking that money. Prosecutors oppose the move because of the likelihood of the money going through lawsuits to his surviving victims and families of the deceased.

Cruz and his younger brother, Zachary, are to split a MetLife policy valued at $864,929.17, presumably a death benefit for their mother, Lynda, who died unexpectedly of a flu-like illness in November 2017.

His public defenders say the law requires them to withdraw from the case.

“The defendant and undersigned counsel were previously unaware of this entitlement,” the public defender’s motion, filed April 24 in Broward Circuit Court, said. “The Law Office of the Public Defender is statutorily prohibited from representing a non-indigent defendant.”

Staff writer Tonya Alanez contributed to this report.

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