Nikolas Cruz’s brother Zachary said on Thursday that his “thoughts are with his brother’s victims” after he was spared the death penalty in a shocking courtroom decision.
Zachary, now 21, lives in Virginia with gay couple Richard Moore and Mike Donavan.
Last week, they were arrested on charges of exploiting Zachary by offering him a job and taking him in when he was a teenager in 2018, after his brother became one of the most notorious mass murderers in the U.S. had become history.
Police say young Zachary had just received $400,000 from his late mother’s estate and had a “mental disability” that the married men took advantage of.
In a statement to DailyMail.com on Thursday via Moore, Zachary said he would have “a lot to say” in the coming days, but would not comment on the jury’s decision to spare his brother today.
They voted 9-3 for the death penalty, but because they were not unanimous, Nikolas is spared execution.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims of my brother’s crimes today. I’ll have a lot to say about the Broward State Attorney’s Office and the Broward School Division in the coming days and weeks. Today is not the day for that.
Zachary Cruz, now 21, lives in Virginia with the gay couple who took him in after the 2018 shootings. He told DailyMail.com in a statement that he had “a lot” to say but that “today for the victims’ votes was’ to be heard’
The jury voted 9-3 in favor of the death penalty, but because they were not unanimous, Nikolas will save execution
Today is a day for victims to find peace in the knowledge that this legal process is finally over. Today is a day for families to make their voices heard,” he said.
Richard was more vocal, however.
“Today’s ruling brings an end to this lengthy public trial of Nikolas Cruz. Our family sends prayers to all victims and their families.
“Our country has a real problem with mental illness, and we must use all available resources and efforts to address and prevent the next Parkland.
“I’m grateful that this jury understood mental health issues better than Broward County Schools.
“My focus and the focus of our family is to be here for Zach as he emerges from the shadows of his brother’s trial.
Cruz with his legal guardians, Richard Moore and Mike Donavan. The couple took him into their home in 2018 when he was a teenager. They were arrested last week on suspicion of fraud. Police say they exploited his mental incapacity
Moore and Donavan deny exploiting Zach or his “mental disability,” saying they were just taking care of him. They were arrested last week on charges of fraud
Police say the couple took advantage of Zachary’s “mental incapacity.” The couple insists he is mentally capable and lives with them on his own free will
“I don’t believe I can ever be as strong a person as Zachary Cruz,” he said.
Moore attended the trial with Zachary, grinning in the public gallery as he watched him testify.
They have repeatedly insisted that they do not want him harm and that they only want to protect him from his brother’s critics.
The jury’s verdict shocked and outraged others, namely the families of the victims and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Disgust: The families of Cruz’s victims were sickened by the jury’s decision to spare him. Above, Anne Ramsay and Michelle Thomas
Tony Montalto holds back tears at press conference after verdict was overturned
He said it was the only appropriate punishment for a crime of this magnitude.
Others ask why Florida still has the death penalty if it cannot be applied to the most brutal of mass murders.
To put Cruz to death, the jury had to unanimously decide that he should be executed.
It is the result of the law in Florida.
No one has been executed in the state since 2019. The last person was a serial killer who shot and killed five men.
As the jury president read the verdict today, the families of some of the victims stormed out of court, crying and shaking their heads in disbelief.
The judge has yet to formally convict Cruz. Before doing so, victims are given a chance to oppose the decision.