FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who killed 17 people in February and wounded almost 20 others after opening fire in a public high school, is receiving “piles” of “fan letters” in jail, his defense attorney mourns. Officials will not read Cruz such material, but will only share the very few that extend “wishes for his soul and to come to God.”
“There’s piles of letters,” Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein told the Sun Sentinel. “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.”
He said that many of the 100-200 letters and cards are from teenage girls who are swooning over Cruz, offering him support or friendship. Older women and men have written to Cruz as well, and some have enclosed photographs that are sexually provocative.
“The letters shake me up because they are written by regular, everyday teenage girls from across the nation,” Finkelstein said. “That scares me. It’s perverted.”
“I’m 18-years-old. I’m a senior in high school. When I saw your picture on the television, something attracted me to you,” one letter from Texas reads, according to the Sun Sentinel. “Your eyes are beautiful and the freckles on your face make you so handsome.”
The girl then provided Cruz with a description of herself, including her bra size. She drew hearts and smileys on the envelope.
“I have freckles like yours,” a teen from the United Kingdom wrote. “I think you’re beautiful. … Oh, and I forgot to mention that I’m a girl lol.”
One woman from Chicago sent Cruz photographs of herself in a bikini as well as a close-up of her backside.
Officials at the Broward County Jail open all the letters, and anything that is deemed obscene or a threat is returned. Cruz does not personally read any of the correspondence, and his defense attorney says that only the letters that contain prayers for his soul and exhortation to get right with God are read to him.
“We read a few religious ones to him that extended wishes for his soul and to come to God,” Finkelstein stated, “but we have not and will not read him the fan letters or share the photos of scantily-clad teenage girls.”
According to reports, Cruz requested a copy of the Bible, but it has not been provided as he is in isolation on suicide watch.
Finkelstein said that he is concerned that “everyday boys and girls are starting to view him in an elevated way, looking up to his fame and notoriety.” In addition to receiving cards and letters, an estimated $800 has been sent to Cruz’ commissary account, and groups have also been formed online that contend that Cruz himself is a victim because he suffered with mental illness and was bullied.
Some letters and online posts recognize that what Cruz did was wrong, but express a feeling of being drawn to him as they worry about his well-being and want to offer themselves as a pen pal.
Finkelstein said that he is allowing outlets to view some of the love letters from teenage girls, as well as the suggestive photographs, to show the ongoing “awfulness” of the matter.
“It’s important that the community understand that as this case continues, the awfulness will continue to spread,” Finkelstein said. “Everything about this case is awful and evil.”
Jesus said in Mark 7:20-23, “That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile the man.”
It is why He taught, as written in John 3:3, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”