The 18-year-old brother of alleged Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz has been allowed to move to Virginia despite being on probation for his several run-ins with the law since the Valentine’s Day massacre.
An attorney for Zachary Cruz, who is on probation for trespassing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – the site of his brother’s maniacal shooting spree that left 17 dead – filed a motion Tuesday saying that the teenager had been offered a free home for a year in Staunton, Virginia.
He would also be offered a job and counseling.
“Mr. Cruz has an incredible opportunity to restart his young life in a fresh location where the stigma of his brother’s alleged actions will not isolate him from the world,” his attorney Mark Lowry wrote in the motion, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
On Friday morning, Broward County Judge Melinda Brown decided that the 18-year-old could go, saying she was not going to stop him. She did tell him that any violation of the law will land him back in a Broward County jail.
“I feel pretty good about it,” Zachary Cruz said from the witness stand, the Sun-Sentinel reported. “I have an opportunity there that I don’t have here.”
In Virginia, he will have a job as a maintenance technician and living quarters would be provided by Nexus Services, which specializes in helping people adjust after prison or treatment. He will make $13 an hour and still face a host of probation restrictions.
Since his brother’s attack on Feb. 14, Zachary Cruz has been under intense scrutiny from local law enforcement, who have jailed him twice.
In March, Brown had sentenced the younger Cruz to six months probation on the trespassing charge. He was arrested weeks after that for allegedly violating his probation for driving without a license.
Since the February shooting, Zachary Cruz was kicked out of the home of Rocxanne Deschamps, who became a surrogate mother to the two brothers after their mother died in November. He then lived in a hotel.
“We didn’t have a good relationship,” he told prosecutor Sarahnell Murphy on Friday. “I’ll have a fresh relationship with these people [in Virginia].”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.