British trainee counsellor, 26, will wed her US double killer penpal known as ‘Animal’ when they meet for the first time behind bars in US jail
- Naomi Wise, from Chelmsford, Essex, met killer through prison pen pal scheme
- The 26-year-old was training as a counsellor and looking for ways to hone skills
- But romance soon blossomed with Victor Oquendo after they exchanged letters
- Oquendo was jailed for fatally shooting two men when he was 19 in gangland hit
- He is not set for release until 2034 but couple plan to marry as soon as possible
A British woman is set to fly to the US to marry a double killer known as ‘Animal’ after getting to know him through a prison pen pal scheme.
Naomi Wise, from Chelmsford, in Essex, was training as a counsellor before the pandemic hit and she was forced to find other means to hone her skills.
The 26-year-old joined the scheme which connects people with prison inmates that want pen pals where she met 30-year-old Victor Oquendo in June last year.
Oquendo, who is known as Animal, is currently serving a 24-year sentence after being convicted of shooting two people in a gangland hit and has also played a part in three armed robberies.
Despite his history, Naomi describes Victor as ‘the kindest man [she] has ever met’ and the pair became engaged after exchanging emails and phone calls.
Within a few months, Oquendo had proposed three times before Naomi finally accepted, after initially being hesitant because they had not met.
Naomi Wise, from Essex, (pictured) plans to marry double killer Victor Oquendo at a US prison in Michigan after meeting him through a prison pen pal scheme during the Covid pandemic
Naomi was training as a counsellor when the pandemic began so she joined the prison pen pal scheme as a way to hone her skills during lockdown but it wasn’t long before Victor proposed
Now, Naomi intends to fly over to Michigan in the US to marry Oquendo in prison as soon as the coronavirus pandemic allows.
Speaking to the Mirror, Naomi said: ‘Victor’s not a monster, he’s a human being.
‘Never in my wildest dreams did I plan to fall in love with an inmate, but it happened and I wouldn’t change it.
‘Victor is the kindest man I have ever met. People might judge before knowing the full story, but I can’t imagine my life without him.’
Victor Oquendo (pictured) was jailed in 2010 after he fatally shot two men during gangland hit
The 26-year-old plans to fly to the US to visit Victor this summer with the intention of marrying him at Macomb Correctional Facility as early as September.
She now spends an estimated £270 a month on ringing the prison and sending her fiancé emails.
Naomi said her friends have been accepting of the relationship but that her family will take longer to come round to their romance.
Victor was jailed after fatally shooting two men in 2010 when he was 19 years old. He admitted two counts of second degree murder as well as a string of other crimes.
Naomi says she hopes to marry Victor in September. Pictured: A sketch Naomi’s friend created
Describing the moment she found about his convictions, Naomi added: ‘ I was shocked. It was a lot to take in.
‘I wanted to know how he felt about what he’d done. If he didn’t care that would have been a red flag, but he’s extremely remorseful.
‘He struggles to live with himself and has night terrors. It said a lot to me about the person he really is.’
Victor is expected to be behind bars until 2034 but Naomi says the state of Michigan is voting on the Good Behaviour act next year which could mean he is released early if he behaves while incarcerated.