NUMBER OF THE BEAST: Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz's disturbing prison drawings revealed as he pleaded for death
Cruz's drawings from jail show figures shooting rifles and disturbing phrases
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FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA: A series of images released show Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz behind bars scrawled '666' on the wall of a prison cell in his own blood. This week, the Broward County Sheriff's Office released a collection of disturbing sketches and notes, including the Satanic cellblock graffiti he scrawled on the wall in May. Sitting at the defense table, the confessed shooter had his head down and was watched by the camera as he doodled, according to WSVN TV.
Cruz, now 23, opened fire on February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 14 students and three staff members. After pleading guilty in October to 17 counts of first-degree murder, a trial is underway to determine his sentence. Cruz's attorneys began their defense Monday, August 22, in an effort to convince the jury - made up of seven men and five women - to sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole rather than death.
The 23-year-old drew images of the devil and images that appeared to show the Valentine's Day 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the 30 pages of eerie writings.
On one of the pages, Cruz discussed the issue the jury is yet to decide. He wrote, "All I want is to go to death row," according to WSVN. "I do not want life please help me go to death row!!!" On several pages, there are declarations of love for Satan as well as images of various weapons and ammunition. WSVN reporter posted the photo of Cruz's drawing of anti-christ number '666' and wrote, "As the defense for Nikolas Cruz starts their case to try and spare his life, a newly released photo shows a "666" he drew on the wall of his jail cell using his own blood. His defense attorney made a reference to this during her opening statement."
As the defense for Nikolas Cruz starts their case to try and spare his life, a newly released photo shows a "666" he drew on the wall of his jail cell using his own blood. His defense attorney made a reference to this during her opening statement. pic.twitter.com/d1Pbz2mGkX— Frank Guzman (@fguzmanon7) August 22, 2022
"I do not want to be bothered by anyone or anything, I can't wait to die. Blood, blood. I only wanna see blood," Cruz wrote on other pages. In addition to pentagrams and drawings of monstrous faces, the phrase "Hail Satan!" is written on several pages, along with the number 666, also known as the "number of the devil."
According to Local 10 News, a Florida TV station, Cruz was placed on suicide watch in May because of these drawings. Melisa McNeill, a deputy public defender, made only passing mention of Cruz's troubling behavior in her opening statement Monday.
It was a hint that this would be raised when the defense made its case to try to save his life. "The evidence will show you that he draws a lot of bad things and that he continues to do that stuff over at the Broward County main jail,” McNeill said.
In her opening statement on Monday, which was postponed from the trial's first day on July 18, Cruz's lead attorney, Melisa McNeill, mentioned the drawings. "One day he wants to live and one day he wants to die," McNeill stated. While admitting there is no excuse for what Cruz did, McNeill urged the jury to take various things into account as her team presents its case over several weeks.
On Monday, the jury was informed that Cruz's birth mother's abuse of crack cocaine and alcohol during her pregnancy caused his brain to be "irretrievably broken." The prosecution, which is seeking the death penalty, presented its case for three weeks, including emotional testimonies from the victims' parents.