British woman tells family she’s at Disney World before marrying ‘goofball’ pen pal on US death row


A British trainee dental nurse said she was going to Disney World before she flew to Arizona and married a death row inmate who killed two people and dumped one of their bodies in an alley.

Rebecca Short, 26, from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, told her family she was on holiday in the US and even posted holiday snaps from Disney World, Florida, and the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco.

However, she surprised her relatives by posting photos of herself marrying Mexican-American double murderer Manuel Ovante Jr, 35, who is on death row at Eyman jail, Florence, Arizona.

The Oxfordshire woman had become pen pals with the killer, who described himself as a ‘goofball’ who is ‘loyal’ and ‘easy to get along with’.

Ovante has spent more than a decade in jail after he was sentenced to death in 2010 for murdering a woman and a man as he was looking for drugs in 2008.

On the day of their marriage Rebecca posed in a black dress with Mexican-American Ovante, who was in his prison-issue orange jumpsuit. 

Rebecca Short, 26, from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, told her family she was on holiday in Disney World, Florida, before saying she had married a US death row inmate

The trainee dental nurse posted a photo of herself in Mickey Mouse ears from Disney World, Florida

The trainee dental nurse posted a photo of herself in Mickey Mouse ears from Disney World, Florida

The British trainee dental nurse was allegedly ‘obsessed’ with documentaries about serial killers in America.

Ovante’s pen pal profile has remained online. The killer described himself as a ‘goofball’ and ‘very loyal’.

He said he was looking for someone with a ‘sense of humour’ who ‘enjoys life’. 

The death row inmate wrote: ‘I’m easy to get along with and tend to be a goofball sometimes. 

‘Very loyal to people I care about. Nobody is perfect, so I hope not to be judged by past mistakes. 

‘I love to read and listen to music. I have a daughter named Bonnie. 

‘Not really sure what I’m looking for in a pen pal so, I guess you’ll have to surprise me. 

‘I guess someone to help make my time in here easier. Someone that has a sense of humour and enjoys life.’

One of Rebecca’s friends said she was ‘always obsessed with watching Netflix documentaries about serial killers in America, but no one thought she’d run off and marry one,’ in an interview with The Sun.

Ovante and three of his friends were searching for drugs in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2008, when they came to Jordan Trujillo’s house.

He hoped Ms Trujillo would be able to give them methamphetamine but she refused.

Ovante returned again and again to her home until at last the group found her when she was asleep. Two others, Damien Vickers and Gabriel Valenzuela were also at the house.

Without warning, Ovante drew a loaded gun and shouted ‘Who left the safety on?’ He pointed it at Valenzuela and told him not to move.

Then he moved his aim to the sleeping Jordan Trujillo on the sofa. He shot her twice in the head, killing her almost instantly. 

She celebrated the marriage with a tiered cake with red roses and black icing that read 'Till death do us part!'

She celebrated the marriage with a tiered cake with red roses and black icing that read ‘Till death do us part!’

She also posed with the double killer’s family after she married him. She met Manuel Ovante Jr, 35, who is on death row at Eyman jail, Florence, Arizona, via a pen pal site for prisoners

Manuel Ovante Jr posted that he was a single Hispanic man on his pen pal profile for prisoners

Manuel Ovante Jr posted that he was a single Hispanic man on his pen pal profile for prisoners

The double killer said he was 'easy to get along with' and tended 'to be a goofball sometimes'

The double killer said he was ‘easy to get along with’ and tended ‘to be a goofball sometimes’

He then shot the two other men in the room multiple times.

Mr Vickers begged for help as Mr Valenzuela called the police. Ovante let Mr Vickers into the truck, still bleeding from his gunshot wounds, but refused to take him to hospital.

When he died in the truck, Ovante dumped his body in an alley.

The double killer was allowed to leave his cell to wed his British pen pal bride on April 14 and smiled as he posed for a picture.

Rebecca celebrated the marriage with Ovante’s family and showed off a tiered wedding cake with black icing and the words ‘Till death do us part!’

Ovante is one of 113 death row prisoners in the Browning Unit at the Arizona jail, where inmates set for execution typically spend 17 years before they are killed by lethal injection.

White supremacist Tracey Hampton (pictured) received a death sentence for murdering Charles Findley and his pregnant girlfriend Tanya Ramsdell because he thought her baby's father was black

Wayne Benoit Prince (pictured) was given a death sentence for shooting dead his 13-year-old daughter Cassandra during an argument with his wife

White supremacist and double murderer Tracey Hampton (left) and Wayne Benoit Prince (right), who shot dead his 13-year-old daughter are also death row inmates at the same prison with pen pal profiles

He is one of three death row inmates at the prison with a pen pal profile. 

White supremacist Tracey Hampton, who murdered Charles Findley and his pregnant girlfriend Tanya Ramsdell because he thought her baby’s father was black, also has a profile.

Hampton said he ‘had an interesting life’ and wanted to exchange letters with women.

He said: ‘I love to laugh and find a reason to smile every day no matter what.’ 

Wayne Benoit Prince, who was given a death sentence for shooting dead his 13-year-old daughter Cassandra during an argument with his wife, listed himself as a divorced inmate.

The killer said he was ‘very caring and a good listener’ and ‘always super respectful’.

He added: ‘I’m very grateful for all the little things in life and I’ve got such a positive attitude.’ 

What did Manuel Ovante Jr do to receive a death sentence? 

Manuel Ovante Jr is a convicted double murderer on death row at at Eyman jail, Florence, Arizona.

In April 2022 he married British trainee dental nurse Rebecca Short, 26, from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.

She had told her family she was on holiday at Disney World before she married the killer.

What did Ovante do to receive a death sentence? 

Ovante and three of his friends were searching for drugs in Phoenix, Arizona, on June 11, 2008, when they came to Jordan Trujillo’s house.

The Mexican-American man hoped Ms Trujillo would be able to give them methamphetamine but she refused.

Ovante seemed unperturbed and returned again and again to her home until at last they found her when she was asleep.

Two others, Damien Vickers and Gabriel Valenzuela were also at the house while Ms Trujillo was asleep on the living room sofa.

Without warning, Ovante drew a loaded gun and shouted ‘Who left the safety on?’ He pointed it at Valenzuela and told him not to move.

Then he moved his aim to the sleeping Jordan Trujillo on the sofa. He shot her twice in the head, killing her almost instantly.

Mr Valenzuela and Mr Vickers started shouting. Ovante started shooting, hitting them both multiple times.   

Manuel Ovante Jr, 35, (pictured) shot a woman head twice as she slept and killed a man before dumping his body in an alley

Manuel Ovante Jr, 35, (pictured) shot a woman head twice as she slept and killed a man before dumping his body in an alley

While Mr Vickers begged for help, Mr Valenzuela called the police. Ovante and two of his friends wanted to flee the scene but his third accomplice wanted to take Mr Vickers to hospital.

Ovante let the injured man into the truck, still bleeding from his gunshot wounds and clinging to one of his attackers.

Yet Ovante refused to take him to hospital and let him bleed out in the truck, When he finally died, Ovante dumped the man’s body in an alley.

It was around a month later that Ovante was arrested. He pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree murder and one count of aggravated assault.

He was sentenced to life in prison with a possibility of parole after 25 years for Ms Trujillo’s murder, given the death penalty for Mr Vickers’s murder, and a mitigated term of six years in prison for the aggravated assault on Mr Valenzuela, who survived his injuries.

Source: caselaw.findlaw.com 

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