Letter asks judge to show mercy on Parkland shooter

The latest in a string of letters sympathetic to the young man who shot and killed 17 people at a Florida high school...

Posted: Apr 12, 2018 7:29 PM
Updated: Apr 12, 2018 7:29 PM

The latest in a string of letters sympathetic to the young man who shot and killed 17 people at a Florida high school asked the judge in the case to show mercy on Nikolas Cruz, calling the shooter "a vulnerable and disabled little boy inside a teenager's body."

Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer included a three-page letter from a Minnesotan this week in the court record of Cruz, 19, who faces 17 counts of premeditated murder.

The Broward County public defender's office, which represents Cruz, said last month that more than 100 pieces of mail sympathetic to the teen had arrived at the county jail where he's being held.

Postmarked from all over the United States and Europe, the letters are from women, girls and men. Some are handwritten; others typed. They are written on college-ruled notebook paper and in fancy greeting cards with cartoons. Some arrived with sexually suggestive photos of women and teens in lingerie.

One handwritten note from a Girl Scout troop in New Jersey was signed by more than a dozen girls. "May God Forgive," they wrote.

The latest letter, addressed "Dear judge" and written by hand, said research into Cruz's past led the writer to believe the gunman suffered from a developmental disability and "was fearful of other people and most likely was threatened by bullies."

"I'm sure his mom did her best, especially after he lost his dad, but obviously Nik, a poor, hurting, lonely child living in a confused world was not helped," said the author, adding that Cruz appeared consumed by sadness and depression.

Cruz was adopted at an early age by Roger and Lynda Cruz. Roger died of a heart attack in 2004, leaving Lynda to raise Nikolas Cruz and his adopted younger brother as a single mother in Broward County.

Cruz had been living in suburban Palm Beach County with Rocxanne Deschamps since Lynda Cruz's death in November.

"It's clear this was a kid that was neglected and taken advantage of, a vulnerable and disabled little boy inside a teenager's body," the letter said.

The author offered condolences to the families of the students and teachers killed on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and asked that they forgive Cruz.

"This was not done out of evil -- it was done out of sadness and a disconnect with society," the letter said. "He had nobody after his mom died. She was his rock."

Cruz doesn't have access to the media, and he cannot receive mail while on suicide watch, Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said last month. The public defender said he didn't know whether Cruz will have access to mail when he gets off suicide watch.

Cruz has confessed to being the gunman in the shooting, court records show.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 498560

Reported Deaths: 9939
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34150535
DeSoto31916399
Hinds31878624
Jackson24352379
Rankin21928388
Lee15450235
Madison14547279
Jones13789241
Forrest13428250
Lauderdale11944315
Lowndes10966185
Lamar10491135
Pearl River9454237
Lafayette8462138
Hancock7703126
Washington7371157
Oktibbeha7118130
Monroe6740174
Warren6656176
Pontotoc6620102
Neshoba6613206
Panola6466131
Marshall6398132
Bolivar6268146
Union596794
Pike5794152
Alcorn5646101
Lincoln5421134
George494979
Scott471198
Tippah466081
Prentiss464881
Leflore4631144
Itawamba4605105
Adams4577119
Tate4553109
Copiah445692
Simpson4423116
Yazoo440386
Wayne438572
Covington427894
Marion4222107
Sunflower4217104
Coahoma4127104
Leake407687
Newton381079
Grenada3700108
Stone358764
Tishomingo358091
Attala330589
Jasper328565
Winston313491
Clay306775
Chickasaw297867
Clarke290694
Calhoun278145
Holmes267287
Smith262450
Yalobusha232847
Tallahatchie225851
Walthall217763
Greene216048
Lawrence211440
Perry204855
Amite204055
Webster201845
Noxubee185940
Montgomery179356
Jefferson Davis170942
Carroll168238
Tunica159039
Benton147538
Kemper141341
Choctaw133026
Claiborne131637
Humphreys129038
Franklin119128
Quitman106328
Wilkinson104539
Jefferson94234
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 814363

Reported Deaths: 15179
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1141131910
Mobile722941323
Madison52048686
Shelby37315341
Baldwin37098540
Tuscaloosa34973599
Montgomery33996725
Lee23158240
Calhoun22168470
Morgan20675372
Etowah19770496
Marshall18258300
Houston17314405
St. Clair15924337
Cullman15333290
Limestone15239198
Elmore15095284
Lauderdale14163294
Talladega13728272
DeKalb12575259
Walker11096366
Blount10104174
Autauga9904146
Jackson9795180
Coffee9182189
Dale8866181
Colbert8794200
Tallapoosa7045195
Escambia6747127
Covington6688179
Chilton6595160
Russell626358
Franklin5936105
Chambers5562142
Marion4960126
Dallas4897199
Clarke473482
Pike4721105
Geneva4564126
Winston4478101
Lawrence4269117
Bibb421786
Barbour356075
Marengo334189
Monroe330662
Randolph327763
Butler324894
Pickens314082
Henry311265
Hale309487
Cherokee300557
Fayette291079
Washington251151
Cleburne247058
Crenshaw243775
Clay240867
Macon230762
Lamar218146
Conecuh185752
Coosa179038
Lowndes174161
Wilcox167838
Bullock151744
Perry138040
Sumter131138
Greene125844
Choctaw87027
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 60°
Columbus
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 64°
Oxford
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 55°
Starkville
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 57°
We have had some nice and dry days for the last several days. We will change things just a bit over the next few days, as we will see some scattered showers and thunderstorms back into our weather forecast by later Wednesday and into Thursday.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather