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Couple Says 'I Do' to Atypical Marriage

Posted June 21, 2007

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— Tracy Cope – now Tracy Morgan –- had never kissed her husband until they were married Friday.

After a 4½-year courtship through the mail and five visits from Nottinghamshire, England, to Raleigh, she married James Lewis Morgan.

Morgan, 52, is a death row inmate at Central Prison, convicted of the November 1997 stabbing death of Patrina Lynette King, 34, of Asheville.

The two met when Cope joined an inmate pen-pal program and started writing to Morgan. Their friendship quickly turned into romance when they shared poetry, she said.

"It was called, 'Where Is My Beloved?'" Cope said. "When he wrote back, he was so touched by it, and he said, "Nobody's ever called me beloved before."

A year into the relationship, Cope said her parents bought her a wedding dress – one that she would not wear for more than three years.

Cope said they discussed the crime Morgan was convicted of committing, but that it is no longer a concern to her "once I found out all the details."

Cope jumped immigration hurdles and worked around the clock to gain the prison's permission. The couple married Friday in a ceremony in which prison officials permitted them to hold hands, hug and kiss. Their visits from now on will be through a glass partition.

"I mean, before we got married, we accepted that. Once the wedding was over, we knew we were going to be separated," Cope said.

As for whether or not they will ever be together outside the prison walls, Morgan said she is optimistic.

"We never give up hope," she said. "We say that with God, all things are possible."

According to the North Carolina Department of Correction, only two people have gotten married at Central Prison in the past five years, and only one of them was on death row – Morgan.

The prison has a strict policy about who can get married and how and when weddings take place. Cope plans to stay in Raleigh with her 15-year-old son. She will be permitted to have a non-contact visit with her husband for about 1.5 hours each week.

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  • jean1960 Jun 23, 2007

    i know how the lady feels as i married a man who had killed a police officer in england we started with letters and i did not start writing to him for a relationship you just never know what is around the corner and i wish them luck

  • Professor Studley Jun 22, 2007

    "-People should be more concerned about living their own lives, rather than trying to dictate how everone else live thiers'. -shaftat13"

    People should also be more concerned about living their own lives rather than terminating the lives of others.

  • Professor Studley Jun 22, 2007

    "Apparently there are some folks here that feel this guy needs defending. Maybe that's why he was not in prison after the first killing, and maybe that's why Patrina King is dead now, because some folks thought his precious rights were somehow violated, and that he needed defending. How many of you were there to defend Patrina King? You're not even defending her now. You choose instead to offer sympathy for a killer. I don't know if the death penalty is a deterrent or not, but I know that if he had gotten it after the first murder, Patrina King would be alive today. I wonder if Patrina King's family was invited to the wedding? Perhaps they were busy and just sent a nice gift instead." -- daddio

    They were busy minding their own business.

  • Professor Studley Jun 22, 2007

    "shaftat13, you have some nerve saying this union is ridiculous and the one between the 40 yo coach and the 16yo student is ok. What happened to minding your own business like you preached yesterday?"

    Ok... here is my differential... The man in this story brutially murdered two, count them TWO, people... he decided that those he killed were less than worthy of being able to fulfill their life desires by termintating said lives... He is a criminal in debt to OUR society, in the most basic sense property of the state, i.e. the taxpayers of NC. What he does is OUR business.

    The people in the case of the 40yo - 16yo marriage are law abiding citizens engaged in perfectly LEGAL activities. They owe no debt to society, as such are private citizens and should be left to do as they please.

  • ERRN Jun 22, 2007

    Just because you marry an American citizen doesn't automatically make you a citizen. I know a German lady who married an Air Force pilot, and it took her 14 years to finally become a citizen!

  • Marc3939 Jun 22, 2007

    shaftat13, you have some nerve saying this union is ridiculous and the one between the 40 yo coach and the 16yo student is ok. What happened to minding your own business like you preached yesterday?

  • Marc3939 Jun 22, 2007

    -People should be more concerned about living their own lives, rather than trying to dictate how everone else live thiers'. -shaftat13

    Follow your own advice.

  • teacher-mom Jun 22, 2007

    ru4rel333-I can only walk in my own shoes.

    You might want to think before you talks so much. You never know what is going to happen in your life. Things can change in the blink of an eye. Her son probably had the option to stay in England.

    What is so great about being over here? We have such a melting (simmering) pot that anyone with any sense knows what is going to happen in the next few years.

  • CG12 Jun 22, 2007

    Why can't we just accept that they managed to find love through all of these obstacles?

    Because the man killed TWO people. Those two people will never get to marry (if they weren't already and if they were they were taken from their families which is even worse), if they had kids they will not ever get to see their children marry. And if they didn't have kids...the wont ever get to have them.

    He is a killer and serving out his sentence in prison. Its ridiculous to allow him to get married...

    The poor families of the victims. Ridiculous.

  • tooblessed Jun 22, 2007

    See's looking for a Book or Movie Deal

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