FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2018 file photo, Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz listens during a status check on his case at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The public defenders representing Cruz who is charged with the Florida high school massacre are set to ask a judge to remove them from the case. The Broward County Public Defender's Office will ask Judge Elizabeth Scherer on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, to order Cruz to hire a private attorney with the $432,000 he may receive from his late mother's life insurance policy. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool, File)

Massacre defendant's attorneys want judge to remain for now

May 01, 2019 - 12:28 pm

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A judge ordered the public defenders representing the former student charged with the Florida high school massacre to stay on his case while she determines if he remains indigent.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer ordered Broward County public defenders on Wednesday to keep representing Nikolas Cruz while she determines if he'll collect $432,000 from his late mother's annuity. His attorneys argued he is no longer poor enough to be represented by them.

Prosecutors and victims' families opposed their removal, saying Cruz will lose any money as a result of the civil lawsuits he faces.

Cruz is charged with killing 17 and wounding 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018.

He's pleaded not guilty but his attorneys said he would plead guilty for a life sentence. Prosecutors want the death penalty.

AP Editorial Categories: