Judge: Nikolas Cruz Will Keep Public Defender

A judge has decided that Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old suspected Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter, should continue being represented by a public defender at taxpayer expense.

Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer's ruled Tuesday that Cruz has at most $28,000 in assets. She says that's not enough money to hire a private lawyer in a potential death penalty case of this magnitude.

The 19-year-old Cruz is charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 

He is being held without bail.

Cruz's lawyers have said he will plead guilty if prosecutors waive the death penalty. The Broward County state attorney's office has not been willing to do that.

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