Trials & Litigation

Judge gives murderer 53 years to life, then conducts his marriage ceremony and provides cake

Earlier this month, San Diego Superior Court Judge Patricia Cookson gave a convicted California murderer 53 years to life.

Then she married Danne Desbrow, 36, to his longtime girlfriend, Destiny, 33, and even provided two slices of cake, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. The couple lost contact after she became pregnant with his child at 16, then reunited after she tracked him down because their son wanted to meet his father.

The victim’s family was escorted from the courtroom after the sentencing and apparently did not witness Desbrow’s marriage. The wedding came as a surprise to his defense lawyer, although Destiny Desbrow had arranged it in advance with the judge.

“I didn’t know it was going to happen,” attorney Steve Cline, who had unsuccessfully asked the judge to delay sentencing, told the newspaper. “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.”

Couples can marry at the local jail, but have to do so with a glass wall between them, the Union-Tribune notes. Although in leg irons throughout the ceremony, Desbrow was allowed to kiss the bride.

Desbrow plans to appeal his first-degree murder conviction in the 2003 slaying of Kevin Santos, and his new wife is hopeful Desbrow will someday be released.

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