Nikolas Cruz, the teen suspect who killed 17 people last month in a Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Hight School in Parkland, Florida, is apparently attracting fan mail and love letters from people who are offering friendship, encouragement, hundreds of dollars, and even sexually provocative photos, according to USA Today.
Cruz, who is currently detained at the Broward County jail, has been showered with affection from adoring fans that include teenage girls, women, and even older men writing to the school shooter with offers of friendship and encouragement. It gets worse, though, there are even groupies joining Facebook communities to talk about how to help the mass murderer. The South Florida Sun Sentinel has managed to obtain numerous copies of some of the letters and photos that have already been sent.
Some of these letters are crazier than you could imagine. “I reserve the right to care about you, Nikolas!” wrote a woman from Texas, who mailed the letter only six days after Cruz committed the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Although this may seem like a unique phenomenon, women often write to men in prison, offering their sympathies and even going so far as to marry them. It seems absolutely crazy to me, but it’s been well-documented in cases like the Menendez brothers who murdered their parents in 1994 but still both found brides while in prison.
To me, it recalls the general fascination that many of us have with crime. Haven’t we all listened to the Serial podcast and watched Netflix’s Making a Murderer? My friends (and my husband) consume crime media, such as Last Podcast On The Left and the dozens of other shows, websites, podcasts, and more that have risen in the past few years. So, really, should we be surprised that Cruz is receiving fan mail? Perhaps not but, according to his lawyer, we should be disgusted.
Letters to Cruz include one 18-year-old woman writing, “when I saw your picture on the television, something attracted me to you,” a Chicago woman sending nine suggestive photos, and an 18-year-old from New York who wrote, “I know you could use a good friend right now. Hang in there and keep your head up.” Seriously, how is this real?
“There’s piles of letters,” Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said. “In my 40 years as public defender, I’ve never seen this many letters to a defendant. Everyone now and then gets a few, but nothing like this.” Why is it that this terrible, heinous crime is drawing so much fan attention? I wish I knew, because then maybe I could understand how and why so many teenage girls and adult women and men are sending love letters to a man who committed such a vicious act.
The good news is that Cruz has not seen any of the letters because he is on suicide watch and Finkelstein, whose firm represents the school shooter, said that they “have not and will not read him the fan letters or share the photos of scantily-clad teenage girls.” Instead, Cruz was read “a few religious ones that extended wishes for his soul and to come to God.” Honestly, it’s nice to know that the public defender knows not to let Cruz see the fan mail — who knows what would happen if the criminal gained knowledge that some think his crime is justified.
Although Cruz’s Facebook fans often call him “cute” and sympathize with him because he was bullied, diagnosed with disabilities and mental illness, and was orphaned, Finkelstein believes that this is a dangerous road to go down.
“The letters shake me up because they are written by regular, everyday teenage girls from across the nation,” he concluded. “That scares me. It’s perverted.” Amen, lawyer!