Brother of Parkland shooter to get fresh start in free apartment

Zachary Cruz has been given permission to move far away from the Florida town still mourning those killed when his brother opened fire in the classrooms and halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The younger Cruz brother was placed on probation after pleading guilty to trespassing on the same Parkland school where 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz gunned down 17 students and teachers in a bloody Valentine’s day rampage.

Broward County Judge Melina Brown on Friday agreed to transfer Cruz’s probation to Virginia, where he’ll be under the supervision of Nexus Services — a company dedicated to helping people move on after incarceration, according to the Miami Herald.

Nexus has already set him up with a $13-hour job as a maintenance man and a free apartment, though he will be monitored by the company’s executive on a daily basis.

RELATED: Florida high school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz

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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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The 18-year-old will also remain under court supervision, wear an electronic ankle monitor and is required to check in with the Broward County Sheriff’s probation department.

“I feel pretty good about it,” Cruz testified. “I have an opportunity I don’t have here.”

His brother, Nikolas Cruz, is currently facing the death penalty for the mass shooting at his former high school. Survivors of the deadly attack have turned their tragedy into a fierce advocacy campaign against gun violence, capturing the attention of the internet, media and people around the world.

Zachary Cruz’s lawyers pressed the judge to consider giving him the chance to start over away from the constant, public scrutiny, according to the Herald.

“I’m not going to stop you. I’m going to send you to Virginia,” she agreed. “I’m going to require you to grow up a little bit and understand there is no law violation that is a small violation.”

Cruz, like his jailed brother, endured a challenging childhood and has a history of mental illness.

After their adoptive mother died in the fall, Zachary lived with a family friend in Palm Beach County until he was kicked out in wake of the mass shooting. on Feb. 14.

He used to run away from home on a recurring basis and was convicted three times in 2016 for grand theft, petty theft and criminal mischief.

Cruz is also suing the Broward Sheriff’s Office, State Attorney’s office and the court system for his treatment following his March trespassing arrest.

He was held on $500,000 bond for the second-degree misdemeanor, which his lawyers deemed so excessive, it violated his civil rights.

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