Prisoner Sentenced, Then Married By Judge (Who Also Baked The Wedding Cake!)
A San Diego judge first sentenced a man to 53 years in prison for murder, then officiated at his wedding in the same courtroom.
The highly unusual back-to-back legal proceedings took place September 17, U-T San Diego reports.
The prisoner in question is Danne Desbrow, who was convicted of a decade-old murder. After the sentencing, Judge Patricia Cookson cleared the courtroom of all but a few people and performed the wedding ceremony, witnesses tell the paper.
Even odder, the judge baked the cake herself! Cookson did not respond to several requests by the newspaper's Greg Moran to explain the unusual circumstances. He tweeted that there was a "wall of silence" from Cookson.
Desbrow's lawyer, defense attorney Steve Cline, said he had no idea that a wedding was going to take place. "I didn't know it was going to happen," said Cline. "Obviously, it was an unusual day from start to finish. I mean, I appreciate that she honored the request for them to marry. But, I've never seen anything like that."
He was even more surprised since Cookson had rejected a request for a new trial and a delay in sentencing at the start of the court hearing.
Desbrow, 36, was sentenced for the killing of Kevin Santos in 2003. The case went unsolved for years until a witness came forward and named Desbrow, Moran reports.
The defense argued self-defense but after a two-month trial, jurors convicted Desbrow of first-degree murder and three more years for threatening a witness.
The new bride, Destiny, actually had a child with Danne at age 16 but lost touch over the years. She tracked Desbrow down using social media and met him for the first time in 10 years in January. Desbrow proposed during the trial. It was Destiny who asked Cookson to marry them.
"She called me back and sad yes, she would," Destiny said, adding she was surprised the judge agreed.
The wedding took place behind locked doors, as five sheriff's deputies watched the shackled groom. Although the judge had baked the cake herself, according to Destiny Desbrow, she did not bring out the whole cake because she was, to quote the newspaper, "leery of bringing the knife that would be used to slice pieces into the courtroom with Desbrow nearby."
The cake, by the way, was a frosted vanilla Bundt.