A British woman has married an American man currently serving 20 years behind bars for rape.
Gemma Morgan, 31, tied the knot with Leonel Vasquez, 31, inside a Virginia prison on December 29 — less than two years after they began exchanging messages online.
“I still get the butterflies every time he calls or his name pops up on a message,” the Scotland-based bride told South West News Service of her jailbird hubby, who has been incarcerated since 2011.
“Love can blossom no matter who you are,” Morgan further cooed, claiming she doesn’t care about her man’s criminal conviction as she’s “not marrying his past.”
The pair first came into contact in early 2021 after Morgan began taking online Spanish lessons with a woman who was based in the US.
The tutor eventually mentioned that she had a son the same age as Morgan who was currently incarcerated. After learning that they shared common interests, the Scottish singleton decided to send Vasquez a message.
“We just connected straight away we have the same sense of humor,” she explained. “We both love 90s music, and have the same favorite films.”
After several months of messaging back and forth, the pair took their relationship to the next level and started talking over the phone.
During one of their first phone conversations, Morgan quizzed Vasquez on his rape conviction, saying, “Initially I thought, ‘Oh yes that’s a very serious thing to be convicted of.’”
“I asked him to tell me the whole story on the phone — that was very important to me,” she said, adding that she felt “very reassured by talking to him about it.”
“He was very, very young when it happened,” the blushing bride said. “Plus he’s done so much in prison to better himself.”
Morgan finally traveled to the US in April of last year and met Vasquez in person for the first time during a supervised prison visit.
For the inmate, it was also love at first sight.
“Our first kiss made my heart skip a beat. I knew I had found my future wife,” the convicted crim emotionally told South West News Service.
“I longed for someone to truly love me for who I am. But I thought, ‘Why would anyone want me?’” he stated. “I will never forget the day Gemma messaged me. I had to reread her message about 10 times. It was just so perfect. We had all these things in common — just the vibe and energy behind her words made me feel happy.”
Three months after their first visit, Vasquez proposed over the phone and they made plans to tie the knot.
Morgan and Vasquez were married by a celebrant last month, with the only witnesses being the two guards in the room.
However, the bride says that the guards permitted allowed her to kiss, hug and hold hands with her felon hubby — and they were even able to share a first dance with the music in their heads.
The couple says both of their families support the union and that they hope Vasquez could be free in as little as 4 years owing to his good behavior behind bars.
They plan to settle in a Spanish-speaking country once he has completed his probation.
Vasquez can’t wait until the day he finally leaves prison and is sure his wife will be by his side.
“I love her personality and she is beautiful,” he soppily stated. ” She’s a woman I never imagined even in my greatest dreams.”