FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Lawyers for Zachary Cruz, the brother of confessed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High gunman Nikolas Cruz, want the head of the Broward Sheriff’s Office probation office held in contempt of court.
Cruz, 18, is on six months probation for trespassing at the Parkland school in March. As part of his probation, he is outfitted with an ankle monitor. Last Saturday, the day before he moved to Virginia, he went to visit his mother’s grave in Ft. Lauderdale and his ankle monitor went off despite the fact that he had committed no violation.
In papers filed in court, Cruz’s defense lawyer Mark S. Lowry accused David Scharf, the head of BSO’s probation department, of unilaterally deciding that Cruz’s ankle monitor would go off whenever he entered Broward County.
Cruz and Mike Donovan with Nexus Services, the Virginia-based company providing Cruz with a job and a place to stay for the next year, spoke to CBS4 Tuesday via Skype.
They said Scharf tried to alter the conditions of Cruz’ probation, like where he could be, to make it easier to arrest him.
“He had an exclusion zone all around Broward County that it would alert when he entered Broward County but there was no condition that he couldn’t enter Broward County,” explained Donovan.
Cruz said his ankle monitor started going off as he was at his mother’s gravesite at a cemetery in Davie on Saturday.
“I was trying to have a conversation in my head with her and then my ankle monitor started going off and I thought I was going to get arrested,” recalled Cruz. “I didn’t get to spend the quality time with my mother that I wanted on my last day in Florida.”
Cruz wasn’t arrested, but his attorneys say this isn’t the first time he was targeted.
After he was released on his misdemeanor arrest for trespassing on the Stoneman Douglas campus, where his brother confessed to carrying out the February massacre, Cruz’s lawyer says Scharf drove from Broward to Palm Beach County to follow Cruz after he was spotted near a school campus.
The motion says, “Mr. Scharf took it upon himself to follow Mr. Cruz outside his jurisdiction, and write an affidavit knowing the allegation of being ‘within 25 feet’ of a school was not in and of itself a violation.”
The motion also says, “It is clear Mr. Scharf has a personal vendetta against Mr. Cruz, and someone wielding such power creates an environment where Mr. Cruz simply has no possibility of successful completion of probation.”
Cruz and his attorneys and supporters say he is free and entitled to a chance to live his life.
“This young man had nothing to do with what his brother is alleged to have done,” said Donovan. “There are people that really want this kid to fail and I think the community should be outraged by it.”
According to BSO, Scharf was hired in 2013. He is the agency’s Executive Director of Community Programs and oversees Probation, in addition to other divisions. BSO said his salary is $167,272.
Zachary Cruz, meantime, just started his new life in Virginia and said it’s going well so far and he’s ready to begin a new chapter in his life.