Young girls, older women and even some men have sent fan mail and letters of encouragement to Parkland shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, the Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. The letters, which range from offers of friendship to obscene photos and propositions, have been delivered to Cruz via the Broward County Jail.
Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, whose office represents Cruz, told the Sun-Sentinel that the sheer volume is unprecedented. “There’s piles of letters. 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.”
The Sun-Sentinel, having obtained copies of a number of the letters, described one from an 18-year-old girl who saw Cruz on television and “something attracted me to you.” She went on to offer encouragement, as well as a description of her breast size. An older woman from Chicago sent a series of provocative photos.
Cruz’s commissary account has also gotten a bump, as a number of his “fans” have also sent approximately $800 in donations.
Cruz will never see most of the letters, however, since the jail opens all mail that isn’t legal communication and will not deliver anything containing obscene materials to the inmate. The fact that Cruz is on suicide watch also complicates matters, meaning that no letters are actually delivered to him — but according to Finkelstein, some of the encouraging notes have been read aloud to him.
Ft. Lauderdale’s CBS affiliate spoke to clinical and forensic psychologist Dr. Laurence Miller about the phenomenon.
“There is a certain charisma attached to these people that have this power to do things that they just don’t care. Serial killers, mass murderers,” Miller said. “What they’re doing there is they’re going one step further and they’re identifying with these individuals because it gives them a sense of potency and power.”
The letters continue to roll in, a fact that Finkelstein says is concerning because most of them are written by “regular, everyday teenage girls from across the nation. That scares me.” So far, letters have come from all over the United States and from as far away as Germany.