The attorney of Parkland school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz announced Wednesday that the 19-year-old wants any money he may receive as a result of his mother’s death donated to a charity chosen by the families of the victims.
"Whatever money he is entitled to, he does not want that money,” defense attorney Melisa McNeill said. "He would like that money donated to an organization that the victims' family believes would be able to facilitate healing in our community or an opportunity to educate our community."
Cruz appeared in court for a hearing to determine whether he has too much money to expect taxpayers to pay for his public defenders.
He is currently represented by the Broward Public Defender’s Office, which handles clients who cannot afford to hire their own lawyers.
Court records from his late mother’s probate case show Nikolas Cruz stands to receive $25,000 from a life insurance policy and up to $800,000 more from her estate, the Sun-Sentinal reported.
Cruz's adoptive mother reportedly died of cancer months before the shooting and another family took him in.
"If you remove our office at this moment right now, in the highest-profile case in America, the defendant is going to be left without a lawyer,” Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said. “From that will flow a myriad of legal problems."
Cruz has confessed to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Valentine's Day.
If convicted of murdering 17 people, Cruz could face the death penalty.
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