Lawyer: Florida school shooting suspect needs public defense

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The alleged gunman in the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida wants to give his inheritance to the help victims, ABC News reported Wednesday.

Simovitch started representing Cruz one day before his alleged February 14 shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 and injured 17 others, the Herald said.

During a hearing in Broward County Circuit Court in Fort Lauderdale to determine if he could afford an attorney, public defender Melissa McNeill said Cruz, 19, made the request that any inheritance go to the families of the shooting victims, ABC News reported. "He would like that money donated to an organization that the victims' families believe would be able to facilitate the healing in our community". Cruz's younger brother, Zachary, attended the hearing but left without speaking with reporters.

Cruz was previously declared indigent.

"Regarding his last comments about a plea offer, the State of Florida is not allowing Mr. Cruz to choose his own punishment for brutally murdering 17 people", said prosecutor Shari Tate.

"One of our concerns is that a private lawyer may come in... and bill taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars", public defender Howard Finkelstein reportedly said in court.

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"Let it go to those who have been hurt, period", Finkelstein said.

Cruz's wealth now consists of 24 Microsoft stocks worth about $2,200 from which he receives dividends, and he is entitled to $25,000 from his mother's life insurance, which he has not yet obtained.

Cruz will be back in court again on April 27.

"That amount of money would already be gone", he said. He faces the death penalty if convicted. Judge Elizabeth Scherer said she planned to issue a ruling later this month, the Post said.

Cruz had told the couple who took him in following his mother's death he would inherit at least $800,000 from his parents, with most of the funds becoming available when he turned 22, according to local press.

"I want to be clear to the court and to the state, this office and this defendant is prepared today and everyday there after to plead guilty to 34 consecutive life sentences", Finkelstein said. "Mr. Cruz is, in fact, potentially a beneficiary of those funds".

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