Nikolas Cruz may soon be out of legal representation in the murder case against him for the shooting deaths of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018.
NPR reports that Cruz’s public defenders have filed a motion asking to withdraw from representing Cruz because he is set to receive a sizable inheritance, and should not qualify for court-appointed representation.
“It has come to the attention of undersigned counsel that Nikolas Cruz is a beneficiary in a MetLife life insurance policy and is entitled to half of a death benefit valued at $864,929.17 as of April 23, 2019,” the Broward County Public Defender’s Office wrote in a court filing obtained by NPR.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, a judge declared Cruz indigent last year and assigned him a public defender after determining that he could not afford a private attorney for the duration of his murder trial.
But as NPR notes, Judge Elizabeth Scherer said she would reconsider if there were a significant change in Cruz’s financial circumstances.
According to the report, the public defenders wrote in the motion that while they were aware Cruz was entitled to an inheritance, believed to be from an insurance policy his mother took out before her death in November 2017, they did not know the amount.
If Cruz is required to obtained private counsel, it could reportedly affect the timeline of the murder trial, which had previously been expected to begin in January 2020.
[Feature image: Nikolas Cruz/Amy Beth Bennett forSouth Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool]