The Florida shooting suspect is poised to inherit an $800,000 trust fund from his dead adoptive parents

  • The Florida shooting suspect is reportedly set to inherit $800,000 after his adoptive mother's death.
  • Nikolas Cruz, 19, was set to receive the money after turning 22. But a judge will determine whether he can access the money now and use it to hire a defense attorney.
  • Cruz's court proceedings could become expensive if prosecutors decide to pursue the death penalty, and his inheritance could let Broward County taxpayers off the hook.


Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old Florida shooting suspect, is reportedly in line for an $800,000 inheritance after his adoptive mother died in November.

Cruz faces 17 counts of premeditated murder after he allegedly opened fire in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day.

Though Cruz filled out paperwork after his arrest saying he was too poor to afford a lawyer, his public defenders asked a judge on Tuesday to determine whether Cruz truly needs it or if he's able to afford his own defense attorney, The Miami Herald reported.

Cruz was initially barred from receiving the money until he turned 22, but Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer could order Cruz to hire his own attorney, leaving taxpayers off the hook for what could eventually become an expensive death-penalty case.

Alternatively, Cruz's public defenders could charge him for reimbursement whenever he "comes into money," even if the case is over by that point, retired Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Scott Silverman told the Herald.

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Florida high school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz
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Florida high school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz
Photo Credit: Broward County Sheriff’s Office
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Nikolas Cruz (C) appears via video monitor with Melisa McNeill (R), his public defender, at a bond court hearing after being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Susan Stocker/Pool
Suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz makes a video appearance in Broward County court before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz makes a video appearance in Broward County court before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz makes a video appearance in Broward County court before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Suspected school shooter Nikolas Cruz makes a video appearance in Broward County court before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Cruz is facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he allegedly killed 17 people, is seen on a closed circuit television screen during a bond hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting. (Photo by Susan Stocker - Pool/Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Prosecutor Shari Tate (L) attends the hearing for Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he allegedly killed 17 people, during a bond hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting. (Photo by Susan Stocker - Pool/Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he allegedly killed 17 people, is seen on a closed circuit television screen during a bond hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting. (Photo by Susan Stocker - Pool/Getty Images)
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Stocker/Pool
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Stocker/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Stocker/Pool
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing before Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Stocker/Pool
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Cruz's windfall comes after both of his adoptive parents died — Lynda Cruz of respiratory illness late last year, and Roger Cruz of heart failure in 2004.

Lynda Cruz filed a medical malpractice suit against a doctor and a clinic over her husband's medical treatment before his death, the Herald reported.

She settled in 2008, and a court-appointed attorney recommended that the couple's two adoptive children, Nikolas and Zachary Cruz, receive $175,000 to be kept in a trust fund until adulthood, according to the Herald.

Lynda Cruz also sold her Parkland home for $575,000, Broward County property records obtained by the Herald showed.

The family Cruz stayed with after his mother's death also told media they knew about Cruz's potential $800,000 inheritance.

Kimberly and James Snead told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel they recently saw paperwork that they believe shows Cruz was set to be financially comfortable.

"This kid was not hurting for money at any point," Jim Lewis, the Sneads' attorney, told the Herald. "Everyone knows about it. The question is if it's available now."

More on the Florida shooting

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Florida lawmakers refuse to debate a gun control measure
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Florida lawmakers refuse to debate a gun control measure
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those supporting them react after the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those supporting them react as they watch the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sheryl Acquaroli, (L), and Ashley Santoro, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School react as they watch the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, raises his hand as part of a move to make members of the House of Representatives have their vote recorded during his request to have a bill banning assault rifles pulled from committee and brought immediately to the House for a vote at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, looks on his computer at gun control bills moving through the Senate as he talks with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those that support their cause, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School walk by a sign in the Senate office building on the way to speak with Florida state legislators, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School advocating for a change in gun control laws listen during a meeting with Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Florence Yared, 17, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, waits in a hallway to speak with Florida state legislators about legislation that could prevent future tragedies, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
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