It’s the kind of eccentric romance you’d probably only ever encounter in a movie – except for the fact that it’s happening in real life.
A British mother of four has decided she will marry a prisoner in the United states who is currently serving time for his part in a brutal murder – a man whom she has also never actually met before.Last year, Laura O’Sullivan from Bristol turned to an app that connects prisoners to pen pals in her search for love, and by October, found herself bonding with murderer Terrell Ravon Reese.
The 32-year-old’s initial interaction with the man involved exchanging a series of letters, following which he would write the woman poems.
Ms O’Sullivan quickly grew enamoured reading the expressive words, saying she thoroughly enjoyed them.
Just months later in June 2022, with a little help from her mother and sister who both agree to the relationship, Ms O’Sullivan found herself engaged to the 31-year-old murderer after he proposed to her over the phone.
“I thought it was friggin’ nuts, friggin’ crazy, but I couldn’t control my feelings and stop my heart,” Ms Sullivan said.
“He’s all I have ever wanted.”
The mother said she was “blown away” by the romantic act and since then, has begun wedding planning, with the big day set to take place in 2023.
Sadly, however, it will have to take place in the jail Mr Reese is serving in, while the attendance list will be lonely, limited to the couple, the vicar and one guest.
Mother Says She Is Impressed by Murderer’s “Honesty and Openness” And Is Now A Different Man
More than a decade since the crime, Ms O’Sullivan believes her husband-to-be has transformed his ways and is a very different man to the teenager he was when he committed his offending.
“Terrell was caught up in a lot of stuff. He does regret that he didn’t have more of a voice and went along with stuff,” she said.
“He wishes he’d made better choices.”
She added that he has taken a lot of classes in prison to improve himself.
“He goes to church, he has learned sign language – he has taught himself a lot for someone thrown in prison as a teenager.”
The mother also said she was impressed by Mr Reese’s “honesty and openness” about his criminal past, describing him as simply someone who was “young and stupid”.
“He told me what he had done straight away and I was so attracted to his honesty and openness,” the mother said.
“Physically, looking at photos, the first thing I noticed was his beautiful eyes and dark, beautiful eyelashes, and his tattoos.”
Ms O’Sullivan is a part-time carer for her eldest autistic son.
She is now waiting for background checks to be cleared so she can visit Mr Reese in the United States for the first time.
Mr Reese is presently imprisoned for second degree murder on a sentence of up to 40 years due to his involvement in the death of 19-year-old Justin Solomon back ok 2009.
At the time, Mr Reese contacted the deceased to sell him a car, however, in conjunction with another man, had a plan to in fact rob him.
When the young man turned up to the meeting spot in Detroit, Michigan, Mr Reese and a man who arrived with an assault rifle, shot Mr Solomon several times and killed him.
As it turns out, the man who pulled the trigger was never convicted for his wrongdoing, while Mr Reese absconded from the scene.
He was later discovered and arrested, and jailed for murder in the second degree.
The Crime of Murder
Amongst the vast number of offences that take place in the criminal world, murder is deemed one of the most malicious.
Under the law, a murder offence takes place where the accused voluntarily did something to another that caused the death of the alleged victim, where the accused did so with the intention to kill, intention to cause a really serious injury or permanent disfigurement or realised the probability that the actions will cause death but did it anyway. Click here for the offence of constructive murder.
In NSW, pursuant to section 19A of the Crimes Act 1900, a crime of this nature attracts a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life.
Imprisonment for life means that a person must serve that sentence for the term of the person’s natural life.
It worth noting that NSW Court has discretion whether to enforce a life in jail sentence to the convicted murderer.
There may be circumstances in which the court determines that life imprisonment is not justified against a convicted murderer, and here the court must order a parole and non-parole period of imprisonment.
Defences to the charge of murder include self-defence, involuntary conduct and mental health.
By Sahar Adatia.