PARKLAND (CBSMiami) — Confessed Parkland school gunman Nikolas Cruz is getting stacks of fan mail and love letters along with hundreds of dollars for his commissary account.
Fans span from teenage girls to women and even older men – some sending suggestive pictures tucked inside greeting cards.
Other fans offered friendship and encouragement to the gunman.
There are also Facebook communities where members talk about how they can help Cruz.
As for his commissary account, it’s currently up to $800.
In one of the letters, a Texas woman wrote, “I reserve the right to care about you, Nikolas!” That letter was mailed six days after Cruz opened fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people on February 14th.
In another letter dated March 15th, a teen wrote to Cruz, “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.”
Psychologist Dr. Peggy Mustelier has a take on the letter writers and others enthralled with Cruz.
“A very strong conviction of his goodness, innocence,” says Dr. Mustelier. “They would act as if they know him.”
Some of these letter writers are active on prisoner friendly websites, with others trying unsuccessfully to sell T-shirts with Cruz’s face on them.
“There are multiple reasons from empathy going to the opposite extreme to people who are disturbed to adolescences,” said Dr. Mustelier. “I know a lot are young girls, perhaps a lot of very active fantasy and they are not capable of recognizing the reality of this.”
Some letter writers regard Cruz as a misunderstood martyr who never had a chance.
Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein says there are “piles of letters” coming in. His office represents Cruz.
“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 told the Sun-Sentinel.
It’s something that’s not unheard of – the attraction to prison bad boys. It’s an echo of past fascinations with other killers like cult leader Charles Manson and brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez who were convicted of murdering their parents. There were also “Bundyphiles” who sent bags of fan mail to Ted Bundy – a serial rapist and murderer.