A judge ordered Thursday the Broward County public defender’s office cannot block probate attorney Audra Simovitch from speaking with her client — Nikolas Cruz, accused of killing 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week.
Simovitch, who is representing Cruz in the case of his late-mother’s estate, complained in an emergency petition that the public defender’s office representing Cruz in his criminal case had denied her a chance to speak with him while he is at the Broward County Jail.
Cruz, the 19-year-old who admitted to killing 14 students and three adults Feb. 14, hired Simovitch’s office on Dec. 13. The retainer agreement was also signed by Rocxanne Deschamps, the woman who took Cruz in to her suburban Lantana mobile home after his mother, Lynda Cruz, died Nov. 1.
In a court filing, the public defender denied Simovitch’s allegations.
Deschamps has not responded to numerous attempts by The Palm Beach Post to speak with her.
Chad Bennett, a friend of Deschamps, said Lynda Cruz had named Deschamps — a longtime friend and a former neighbor in Broward County — as the siblings’ guardian, but she has no paperwork to confirm that. He said the family has been unable to find Lynda Cruz’s will.
Deschamps took in Nikolas Cruz and his younger brother Zachary when their mother died. However Nikolas Cruz later wanted to bring a gun in the home and Deschamps said he couldn’t so he left, Bennett said. Zachary continued to live at the home. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office took him in for a mental health evaluation Friday. It is unclear where he is now.
Once Nikolas Cruz left Deschamps’ home he moved in with the Snead family in Broward County.
Cruz told the family he had an $800,000 trust fund and that he would get most of it when he turns 22, the Miami Herald reported.
Staff Researcher Melanie Mena contributed to this story.