What's a nice British tourist doing on our death row?
So the couple mailed documentation to a mosque (Blakeney is a Muslim) and settled for a no-show Islamic union.
Of course the operative question regarding their pairing isn't whether. It's why.
Young insists she harbors no ulterior motive. For example, she isn't hoping marrying an American will help her attain citizenship here, something she doesn't even want.
"This is a lovely country to visit," she says, "but I'd never want to live here."
She's convinced Blakeney isn't using her either.
"Neither of us was looking for a [romantic] relationship," she says. "When we met he was as cautious as I was. I didn't know him; he didn't know me. He's always been completely honest with me, and he's never asked me for anything."
So with exploitation out of the picture, is this true love? Young says it is, although she knows not everyone hearing of it is going to get choked up.
A call to Marsico's Harrisburg office confirms the latter. Upon learning a journalist is writing about someone who's fallen in love with Blakeney, the woman who's answered the phone goes silent for 15 seconds before remarking, "I'm sorry. But that's so messed up."
Young thinks Blakeney's conviction is messed up. But her theory about what transpired inside a Harrisburg apartment on Feb. 2, 2000, is a tough sell.
To cut to the chase, Young fervently believes Blakeney's contention that Harrisburg police officer William Vernouski actually slit 14-month-old Basil Blakeney's throat early that morning.
"The cop did kill the baby," she asserts.
Marsico and the state have never bought it.
What's clear is that Herbert Blakeney, who lived in the apartment with his then-wife Sacha, their four children and little Basil (whom another man fathered), argued with Sacha the day before the murder, and she threw him out.
Intoxicated, he returned early on Groundhog Day, cutting phone lines, tussling with Sacha's babysitter (Sacha wasn't home) and stabbing her. When Vernouski and several other cops arrived, Blakeney picked Basil up and held the baby in one hand while wielding a knife in the other.
Vernouski shot Blakeney three times, once in the face, after Blakeney slit Basil's throat, the ex-cop and two others testified at trial.
But Blakeney has always maintained that Basil was unharmed when Vernouski fired, and that the cop, fearing he'd killed Blakeney, murdered the infant and blamed Blakeney to justify the shooting.
Young points out that only a minute amount of the baby's blood was discovered on Blakeney's clothing afterward. "It doesn't make sense," she says. "Wouldn't his jacket and boots be soaked with blood?"
She says there are other discrepancies too.
While acknowledging that little of Basil's blood was found on Blakeney's clothing, Marsico characterizes the couple's fingering of Vernouski as "ludicrous," adding that "Blakeney is a cold-blooded killer of an innocent child, in my opinion."
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