Accused Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz tried to obtain a reported $800,000 inheritance nearly two months before the shooting, according to court records.
The 19 year old signed a retainer agreement with lawyer Audra Simovitch on December 13 in order to pursue his share of the estate left behind by his adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, who died in November. Nikolas was set to receive his share when he reached the age of 22, according to an order by Broward County Probate Division Judge Charles Greene.
Simovich accused the public defender’s office of “obstructing justice” by denying access to Cruz, and telling the guardian of his younger brother, 42-year-old Roxanne Deschamps, that the suspected shooter may wish to “waive his interest in the estate.”
If Cruz is allowed to access the inheritance, he wouldn’t be entitled to a free defense attorney under Florida state law.
Of note, a call placed to the FBI one month before the massacre by a person close to Nikolas Cruz said that he was set to inherit $25,000 per year from his mother’s life insurance policy when he turned 21 until the age of 30, and that she was worried that he would spend it on guns, according to transcripts leaked to the WSJ.
One day after the February 14 shooting, Simovich filed court papers on behalf of Deschamps, claiming that she has an interest in Lynda Cruz’s estate since she is caring for Zachary Cruz – Nikolas’s brother, who has a 50% interest in the state of Lynda.
Zachary, who turned 18 last week, was reportedly taken to a psychiatric hospital “against his will” two days after the shooting at the request of Deschamps under Florida’s Baker Act.
After the Cruz brothers’ adoptive mother died, they moved in with Deschampps – however Nikolas was kicked out after a few weeks amid agruments over his weapons. Cruz then moved in with Kimberly and James Snead, who agreed to let him live with them last Thanksgiving on the condition that he keep his guns in a safe.
Of note, the caller who tipped the FBI off to Cruz a month before the shooting said that Nikolas was very defensive of his $25,000 per year inheritance, and that James Snead was going to invest it for him.
“He doesn’t know Nikolas from a hole in the wall. And I don’t know who he’s going to invest it with or what’s going to happen but I do know, and this is a fact, when you ask Nikolas for money, he goes up one rule and down the other. he gets crazy, because he will not give anybody his money. Matter of fact… the bank is all is, and, you know, to hell with everybody else including his brother.”
Simovich told The Post that she had yet to meet with Nikolas, but was planning to do so “probably before the first of March.” It is unclear whether he wants to waive his inheritance, which Simovich said is “one of the reasons I need access to him.”
Cruz is being held without bail on 17 counts of premeditated murder.
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