Key Words: Lawyer ‘shocked’ at how much money the Parkland shooter just inherited

‘We were shocked.’

That’s how Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein reacted, according to the Washington Post, when he found out how much money Nikolas Cruz, the man who confessed to murdering 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last year, was just awarded.

For most people, a windfall of almost a half-million dollars would go a long way. For Cruz, however, it probably won’t end up meaning much of anything, other than maybe him losing his public defender.

Cruz and his half-brother will reportedly share proceeds of an $864,929 life insurance policy. With that cash infusion, Cruz could lose his lawyer because the Broward Public Defender’s Office can only represent impoverished defendants.

Before that, court documents showed his net worth to be only $28,000.

“The victims’ families’ lawyers are probably going to move to freeze those assets,” Finkelstein told the Post in an interview. “Because of their significant trauma and awful loss, they’re entitled under the law to receive monetary damages. So if they freeze those assets, then he doesn’t have access to them.”

Finkelstein had offered a guilty plea from Cruz if the prosecutors would forgo the death penalty. The offer was rejected, with Broward State Attorney Michael Satz saying Cruz was the poster child for capital punishment.

It’s believed that the insurance windfall comes from Cruz’s adoptive mother, who died in November 2017 after struggling with addiction. His father, Roger Cruz, suffered a heart attack and died in 2004.

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