In love letters knotted with stick figures and smiley faces, Parkland shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz looks toward the future.
“I really want kids. I think of it all the time, you know the joy they bring,” Cruz, 20, wrote on Halloween to Miley, one of his many online admirers whom he has reached from prison, according to a report by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
He has landed on three names for boys: Kalashnikov, Makarov and Remington — all gun manufacturers. Should there be any girls, Cruz wrote, his wife would name them.
“I hope you have the same feelings of wanting a family and having kids,” Cruz wrote to Miley in one letter among 47 pages of dispatches obtained by the Sun Sentinel from the Broward County State Attorney’s Office.
Police say he has admitted to killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018, and faces a potential death sentence.
But he does not mention the killings, which would be a “bad idea,” he wrote, in his letters to Miley — a woman from Britain whose letters to Cruz were not part of the prosecutor’s release.
The letters were not delivered and were obtained by jail guards who provided them to prosecutors, according to a person familiar with the case. Prosecutors declined to comment.
In an often rambling, sometimes incoherent stream of thoughts between October and November 2018, Cruz oscillates between hope for the future and resignation to a fate that could include lethal injection, the Sun Sentinel reported.
“I wish life for me could have been different but it’s not. And a part of me is wishing it ends. End with the death [penalty], letting someone inject me with longlast sleep,” Cruz wrote on Oct. 13. “Its kind of what I want but I’m unsure of myself so I’m just letting people save me from myself, saving me from something that I can never return from.”
Cruz has spent a lifetime in special education and has been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, the Sun Sentinel reported, and has scored below average on IQ tests.
That may be a path for his public defender to pluck Cruz from an execution chamber.
"It’s unconstitutional in the United States to execute a person with intellectual disabilities,” Robert Dunham, executive director of the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center, told the Sun Sentinel.
Yet Cruz held jobs and spoke about his desire to become a school shooter in cellphone videos, potentially blunting a strategy to suggest he was incapable of understanding his actions. “When you see me on the news, you’ll all know who I am,” he said in one video before laughing. “You’re all going to die!”
Cruz is more contemplative in his letters, offering diatribes about life, holidays and the routine of prison. He is patted down every four hours, he wrote, as he imagines what kind of routine Miley has on the outside, according to the report.
“I been thinking of you all the time wondering what type of girl you are in real life,” he wrote. “I feel like you really understand me and it fills me with great joy.”
Cruz, a few months removed from admitting to cutting 17 lives short, wrote that he’ll likely spend the rest of his life in prison. But that only complicates his dreams.
“I also was wondering if you’d be interested in marriage when the time’s comes. It won’t be for a long time, but would you be interested? I feel like we make a great family together. With lots of kids. I imagine it every day. That’s what’s keeping me strong.”
This story has been updated.