Suspected Murderers Marry Behind Bars in Orange County Jail


Richardson worked closely with Bilotti's lawyer to obtain a court order allowing the couple to marry inside the jail courtroom earlier this month. However, the Orange County Sheriff's Office blocked the motion, and the wedding was postponed. One week later, jail officials agreed to allow the ceremony to move forward in the jail's visiting area.

Bilotti is charged with first-degree murder, burglary and robbery. She faces 32 years to life in prison.

Murtaza, awaiting a trial date next year, faces the death penalty for what has been described as one of Orange County's most notorious crimes. He and two friends are accused of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. According to police, Murtaza also slit the throat of his ex-girlfriend's mother, though she survived the attack.

Given those types of backgrounds, Richardson said she has received a lot of public criticism for her business.

"I don't see them as horrible criminals," Richardson said of Bilotti and Murtaza. "People don't understand that these are regular people like the rest of us. There is so much prejudice against incarcerated people and some people don't understand it."

But for Richardson, inmate weddings are a personal matter. Her biological sons and two stepsons are currently in California and Texas jails.

She began officiating jailhouse weddings nearly three years ago when her youngest son, who was serving jail time, decided he wanted to marry his girlfriend. Richardson began to research the legal process behind it.

"I thought to myself, 'I can do this,'" she said.

She now runs the business alongside her daughter-in-law and has performed more than 300 weddings.

Her company was recently featured on the National Geographic television show "Taboo" last month. And now, Richardson said, she is working with a New York based production company on getting a reality show on the air.

Her business allows her to become "fast and furious" friends with many of the brides-to-be she meets, including Bilotti, she said.

"They are sweet," Richardson said. "I hope they can win their cases and live happily ever after."

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