A mother of two is set on marrying a death row inmate who murdered and mutilated a gay reveler in the same month he is to be executed.
Jane Quantrill, 55, who resides in Sydney, is planning to tie the knot with convicted murderer Robert “Bobby” Van Hook, 56, in July 2017 — the same month he is scheduled to be executed for killing David Self, the Mirror reports.
Quantrill, who has campaigned against the death penalty for decades, has been exchanging letters and phone calls with Van Hook since “meeting” each other through a prison pen pal website. Jane is a published author and a songwriter.
Mum-of-two: 'I fell in love with a killer on death row and now we're getting married':— Ahmed El-Beialy (@asb72) August 16, 2016
Jane Quantrill, 55, ... https://t.co/odyVCD4YG9
Back on February 18, 1985, Van Hook went to a gay bar in Cincinnati with the sole intention of finding someone to rob. There, he met David Self. He then went back to his house where he “lured” him into a “vulnerable” position.
Once Van Hook got Self where he wanted him, he strangled him until he became unconscious. He then stabbed him to death and mutilated his body, as stated in the court records.
Robert fled to Florida in the hopes of eluding the police. He was tracked down six weeks later and then sent to death row at Chillicothe Correctional Institution in Ohio.
Van Hook, a Cincinnati native, made appeals against his conviction and sentence multiple times.
Jane is fully aware of what Van Hook did and even talked to him about it in great length.
“[Bobby] told me all about his crime and is deeply remorseful. He’s been there for 31 years,” Jane told Mirror.
Jane and Bobby can’t meet in person since the latter is kept in an isolated cell 23 hours a day.
The only time Quantrill will be able to touch her future-husband is after he is executed. Jane hopes for the better alternative — meeting him on the chance that his conviction and sentence are overturned.
While they may be thousands of miles apart, the pair have been communicating with each other via phone, email, and snail mail.
“Our letters and calls brighten up our lives,” she said.
“We correspond by jpay email and also snail mail. We write every second day and he calls me about three times a week,” Jane revealed.
“I have opposed the death penalty my entire life. Whilst living in Montgomery, Alabama, in the early eighties, I worked for a prisoner’s aid group and visited men on death row there.
“In my first letter to Bobby, I told him about myself and my work against the death penalty. I had no fear in writing someone on death row, for obvious reasons.”
“I’m sad we don’t have the physical contact, but one day we shall. We concentrate on that. We do have video visits,” she continued.
Charged with aggravated murder and aggravated robbery, Robert was initially scheduled for execution by lethal injection in March last year. The execution was stayed and then rescheduled to November 17, 2015 amid an investigation into another inmate’s death.
The execution date got rescheduled again for October 19, 2016 and then later moved to July 26 next year.
Van Hook and Jane are scheduled to marry within that month.
Quantrill said her two grown-up children are fully aware of her plans to marry Van Hook.
Her daughter is “supportive” of the relationship. Her son, however, is “uncertain.”
Jane also said that corresponding with death row inmates like Van Hook is “beneficial and can be a catalyst for reform.”
“I think the death penalty is premeditated state-sanctioned murder which only creates more victims, the condemned inmate’s loved ones,” she said.
“I believe, and indeed. have started a petition, asking that if death row inmates agree to donate blood, bone marrow, and organs; such as a kidney or part of their liver, that their sentences be commuted.
“They can’t bring their victims back, but they can give life to those who would otherwise die.”
[Image via Jane Quantrill/Facebook]