Avoiding all jokes about marriage being a death sentence, a judge in San Diego married a convicted killer to his fiancee right after sending him to the slammer for at least 53 years.
Danne Desbrow, 36, was sentenced for murdering Kevin Santos in 2003. He escaped justice until recently when a witness came forward with information linking Desbrow to the crime. He claimed that he killing was self-defense and happened during a fight.
But after a two-month trial, a jury didn’t buy the story. They convicted Desbrow and on Sept. 17, Judge Patricia Cookson sentenced him to two consecutive terms of 25 years to life in prison, one for the murder itself, the other for using a gun to kill a person. Then she tacked on a three-year sentence for threatening a witness.
After Cookson (pictured) pronounced the sentence, that’s when the fun really began. She told the victim’s family to leave the courtroom. And then she brought out a wedding cake that she baked herself and performed a wedding ceremony, hitching Desbrow to his former sweetheart — and mother of his child — Destiny.
Why did the judge agree to perform a wedding minutes after handing down a sentence that will likely keep the groom in jail for the rest of his life? Cookson isn’t saying. But it all came about because Desbrow’s son, who he never met, wanted to find him.
Destiny, now 33, became pregnant by Desbrow when she was 16. But before she gave birth, Desbrow disappeared. She never heard from him after that.
But when her son expressed a desire to meet his dad, Destiny took to social media and tracked down her former flame. She found him — in jail. He was awaiting trial for the Santos murder.
Destiny sat in on the whole trial and eventually, Desbrow proposed to her. So Destiny called the judge and asked if she would officiate at the wedding.
To her, and everyone’s surprise, Judge Cookson agreed.
“I didn’t know it was going to happen,” Desbrow’s lawyer Steve Cline said. “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.”
The judge brought in a vanilla bundt cake that she had baked herself. She made sure to cut the cake ahead of time, so Desbrow wouldn’t be able to grab the knife. Desbrow ate his whole slice. Destiny took only a bite.
Desbrow plans to appeal his conviction. Meanwhile, he awaits trial on a separate charge. But Destiny believes that she will see him out of jail someday.