SAN DIEGO - For the first time, family members of a murder victim are speaking out after a judge married the convicted killer and his fiancée after sentencing, even baking a cake for the ceremony.
For April Santos, there is disbelief and anger.
"I'm hurt. I just don't know why a judge would do that. I'm lost for words," said Santos.
Judge Patricia Cookson was the judge in the trial of Danne Desbrow, the man who killed her April Santos' brother, Kevin, 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, Cookson sentenced him to 53 years to life in prison.
After the sentencing, Cookson cleared the court, with Desbrow's supporters the only ones left, according to Desbrow's attorney Stephen Cline.
Facebook photos show what happened next. One photo shows a set of wedding rings. In another photo, Cookson is seen officiating a wedding between a smiling Desbrow and his fiancée, Destiny. His hands were uncuffed, allowing them to hold hands. After the wedding, the couple was allowed to kiss.
Then came another stunner, from the judge.
"She went in the back and came back out, and apparently made cake for the two of them," said Cline.
The cake was a vanilla Bundt cake.
It turns out Desbrow's fiancee had made the wedding request during the trial and the judge agreed to it.
Santos' sister learned of the wedding when 10News called her about it.
"It's a slap in the face for the family ... Why are you sending the message we can marry these people who commit crimes, violent crimes?" said Santos.
Meanwhile, Cline said 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.
Cline believes Cookson may have done it so Desbrow -- who has a long history of violence -- would cause less trouble in prison.
"These small things can have a lasting impact down the road," said Cline.
"It's not humanly possible for you to grant that to somebody, to a murderer," said Santos.
10News asked a court spokesperson for a comment from the court and Cookson, and 10News was told there would be no statements because the criminal case was going to be appealed.
ABC 10 News