SAN DIEGO — After handing down a murder conviction, a judge presided over the killer’s wedding.
For April Santos, the sister of the victim, the ceremony was ludicrous.
“I just don’t know why a judge would do that,” she said. “I’m lost for words.”
Judge Patricia Cookson presided over the trial of Danne Desbrow, the man who killed April Santos’s brother, Kevin Santos, in 2003.
Desbrow claimed he was defending himself in a fight, but was convicted of first-degree murder after a witness came forward to crack the cold case.
Two weeks ago, Judge Cookson sentenced him to 53 years to life. Desbrow’s Attorney Stephen Cline after the sentencing, Cookson cleared the court — except for Desbrow’s family. Facebook photos showed what happened next. There were wedding rings. And smiles.
Desbrow was uncuffed and was allowed to hold hands with his fiance. After the wedding, the couple was allowed to kiss. Then came another stunner — from the judge.
She went left the courtroom and returned with a cake.
Desbrow’s fiancée had made the wedding request during the trial and the judge agreed to it.
Santos’ sister learned of the wedding from reporters.
“It’s a slap in the face,” Santos said. “My mother suffered and suffered through the trial.”
Meanwhile, Cline says his client was appreciative — but was surprised the judge was so accommodating. He can’t ever remember a judge marrying a convicted killer in a courtroom.
He believes she may have done it — so Desbrow — who has a long history of violence — would cause less trouble in prison.