Jailhouse phone calls played in court have revealed how Nikolas Cruz and his neighbour discussed making a movie about the mass murderer’s life.
The dramatic audio, taken from two separate calls in August 2021, reveals Cruz’s former neighbour Paul Gold telling the Parkland shooter that he knows a “famous producer” who has worked on movies with stars including Brad Pitt and Tom Hanks.
Mr Gold then goes on to say that he is “amazed” that no one has approached Cruz to create a movie about his life.
“You know talking about movies, I’m amazed somebody hasn’t approached you about making a movie,” he is heard saying.
Mr Gold brings the idea up again in another call.
“My one buddy who works with me is Lee Allison. He’s a famous producer, he’s actually made a couple of movies with Brad Pitt and Leo DeCaprio,” he says.
“F*** me he comes over the house all the time, I’ve been the best man at his wedding for god’s sake.
“He mentioned it – ‘he said you should make a movie about Nikolas Cruz’s life’. I go ‘I don’t know about that but it is a good message about communities not caring about people’.”
Cruz responds by saying that he is uneasy with the suggestion.
“I don’t know if I’d want that to be honest with you,” he says.
Mr Gold responds saying he told the producer that “the only way I would do anthing would be if it would help people”.
Elsewhere in the call, Mr Gold offers to put “put him on with” with his movie producer friend next time he is around the house.
Mr Gold, who lived next door to the Cruz family from 2008 to 2011, was grilled under cross-examination about his suggestions about making a movie about the murderer.
He admitted that he told Cruz “he should” make a movie saying the Parkland shooting “is an important historical event” that people should “learn from”.
“I think it’s very important to understand that in order to be a better society, be better people,” he said.
Mr Gold denied that he was trying to exploit the tragedy, saying: “Any exploitation of this would be terrible.”
Mr Gold lived next door to the Cruz family in Parkland from 2008 to 2011.
He told the court that he had moved into the home of his then-fiance Rocxanne Deschamps and lived there with Mr Gold’s daughter Isabella and Ms Deschamps’ son Rock Deschamps.
At the time, Cruz was living with his adoptive mother Lynda Cruz and his brother Zachary next door.
Mr Gold and Ms Deschamps moved out of the home in 2011 but stayed in contact with the Cruz family, with Cruz and Zachary sometimes going to visit.
But, Mr Gold said he later had a falling out with Lynda over an iPad that went missing – and which he believed Zachary had stolen.
When Lynda died, Mr Gold said he was no longer in a relationship with Ms Deschamps, with the couple going through a far from amicable split and custody battle for their younger son Tyler.
Cruz and Zachary initially moved in with Ms Deschamps but Cruz moved out of the home just one month later after the police were called to the home over an alleged fight with Ms Deschamps’ son.
Three months after Lynda died in November 2017, Cruz travelled to Marjory Stoneman armed with an AR-15 on Valentine’s Day 2018.
The then-19-year-old stalked the corridors of the freshman building, murdering 17 students and staff members.
Last October, Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder over the Valentine’s Day killings.
Jurors will now decide whether to sentence him to life in prison without parole or to death.
Prosecutors spent three weeks detailing how Cruz murdered 17 students and staff members and wounded 17 more, with jurors hearing from grieving family members and touring the school site.
Now, Cruz’s defence is presenting its case, seeking to show that Cruz’s actions that day were the culmination of his life up to that point – from him being exposed to drugs and alcohol in the womb through his birth mother, to behavioural and psychological issues from an early age, and the deaths of both of his adopted parents.