Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Teenage girls, older women, and even some old men are sending fan mail and love letters to the 19-year-old school shooter who murdered 17 students and faculty at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School on Feb. 14.
"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,” Finkelstein said.
Fans of Cruz have also deposited $800 into his jail commissary account for the murderer to use to buy snacks and personal hygiene items, according to the public defender.
“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 teenager wrote to Cruz in a letter reviewed by the Orlando-Sun Sentinel.
The letter was mailed from Texas, according to the Orlando Sun-Sentinel. It was inside an envelope where the writer had drawn hearts and happy faces.
“Your eyes are beautiful and the freckles on your face make you so handsome,” she wrote. “I’m really skinny and have 34C sized breasts.”
Finkelstein told the Orlando Sun-Sentinel that he worried “everyday boys and girls are starting to view him in an elevated way, looking up to his fame and notoriety.”
"The letters shake me up because they are written by regular, everyday teenage girls from across the nation,” he said. “That scares me. It's perverted.”
One woman from Chicago included nine sexually-suggestive photos, including one shot of her cleavage and another of her in a bikini eating a Popsicle and a shot of her butt as she bent over.
“I reserve the right to care about you, Nikolas!” wrote a one woman.
The Orlando Sun-Sentinel reported that not all the letters were from women. One New York man with a bushy gray mustache enclosed a photo of himself in a 1992 Nissan convertible.
Cruz has not seen any of the mail because he is on a suicide watch, according to Finkelstein. Prisoners on suicide watches are locked in bare cells by themselves.
Carole Lieberman, author of a book about groupies of incarcerated killers, told the Orlando Sun-Sentinel that Cruz was a groupie magnet for women who wanted to save him.
“He looks like such a sad and lonely figure,” Lieberman said.
“Women who become pen pals and groupies of killers in prison are those who have had a dysfunctional relationship with their dad that has made them feel unlovable,” she said. “These women have low self-esteem, she said, and “become imbued with the killer’s power.”
His attorney had shared some of the mail with Cruz, but said his client will never see all of it.
“We read a few religious ones to him that extended wishes for his soul and to come to God,” Finkelstein said, “but we have not and will not read him the fan letters or share the photos of scantily-clad teenage girls.”