The 19-year-old accused of gunning down 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this month reportedly tried to access an inheritance not long before the deadly school massacre.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Nikolas Cruz’s mother Lynda Cruz died in November, and at the time of the shooting he was living with the parents of a friend, having clashed with the woman who first took him and his brother in over his enthusiasm for guns. Cruz told the second family, Kimberly and James Snead, that he was expecting to inherit $800,000 from his mother’s estate when he turned 22. He was also reportedly concerned that Rocxanne Deshchamps, the woman he briefly lived with after his mother’s death, was trying to access the funds.
The New York Post obtained court records showing that Cruz hired an attorney in an attempt to access the nearly million-dollar inheritance two months before he opened fire at the Florida high school on February 14.
According to the records, Cruz signed an agreement to retain Audra Simovitch on December 13, two months and one day before the deadly massacre, to pursue his portion of the inheritance left by his mother. After Cruz’s arrest, when he was assigned a public defender, Broward County Probate Division Judge Charles Greene reportedly allowed Simovitch to meet with him in county jail.
The judge’s ruling reportedly came in response to an emergency petition filed by Simovitch, accusing the Public Defender’s Office of interfering with her access to her client. She also accused Cruz’s public defender of suggesting to Deschamps that Cruz might be open to waiving his interest in the inheritance money.
Last week, the New York Post reported that Deschamps had filed court papers seeking to become the executor of Lynda Cruz’s will.
The latest New York Post states that according to Florida law, Cruz would no longer qualify for a free public defender if it were to be determined that he had more than $2,500 in assets beyond a home and a vehicle.
[Feature image: Nikolas Cruz/Associated Press]
Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly stated that the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took place last month; it occurred this month on February 14.