The man accused of killing 17 of his former classmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is about to receive a payout of over $430,000 from a life insurance policy of his adoptive mother, who passed away in November 2017. As a result, the public defender's office announced they are requesting to withdraw from the case because they are only allowed to represent people who are incapable of paying for legal 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. "The Law Office of the Public Defender is statutorily prohibited from representing a non-indigent defendant."
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Cruz and wanted to begin the trial in early 2020, but it appears that the date will have to be pushed back as Cruz attempts to find new lawyers.
Cruz's public defenders had previously said that he is willing to plead guilty if he could avoid the death penalty.
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