A single mum who fell in love with a convicted killer has married the inmate in an intimate prison ceremony – with her children as witnesses.
Monique Stallworth, 33, first met Arthur Alexander Mccall through a mutual friend in February 2019 and was not put off by his brutal crime or the fact he was behind bars.
Mccall is serving a total of 60 years minimum at Kern Valley State Prison, Delano, California, US, after being convicted of first-degree murder and jailed for life for shooting a man to death in 2008.
But Monique – who is mum to Rodney, 13, and Malaysia, six, from a previous relationship – says she never expected to fall in love with Mccall, but couldn’t help developing feelings for the imprisoned murderer after he swooned her with his charm and willingness to reform.
The couple – who have been dating for 10 months – spent four months speaking on the phone after being introduced by a mutual friend – Arthur’s half-sister Shaundra Mccall, 31 – before meeting in person for the first time during a prison visit in June 2019.
They became a couple in June 2019 and Arthur proposed after getting Monique to visit his grandmother’s house in July 2019, where she was given a family heirloom ring.
They tied the knot in a ceremony in Kern Valley State Prison, California in February 2020 – with Monique’s children, Arthur’s son and the pair’s siblings in attendance.
Monique donned a white wedding press, with all attendees in smart shirts, although Arthur still had to wear his blue prison scrubs.
Monique, a nail technician, from Sacramento, California, said: “As soon as I heard his voice, I instantly melted and had butterflies.
“I only started speaking to him as I thought he might be lonely and could do with someone friendly checking in to see how he is getting on and what he’s been up to.
“I’m good friends with Arthur’s half-sister, Shaundra, and I was at her house one day when he called her for a chat.
“He heard me talking in the background and asked her to put me on the line – it just spiralled from there.
“We spoke about our families and our childhoods. He was my go-to person to discuss any hardships I’d had in the day and I wanted to know more about him, not just about his crime.
“Having those vulnerable discussions led to catching feelings, so within three months, I already knew he had a special place in my heart which I wanted to explore.
“He makes me feel like a kid in a sweet shop. With each other’s love and comfort, we will come out on top.
“He doesn’t scare me, Arthur is a gentle giant. He is a changed man, and is a very caring soul. He wouldn’t harm a fly now.
“We are perfect together. We just really clicked from the beginning.
“I’m so proud to call him my husband.
“Arthur could be put forward to the parole board in one to four years – so he could be released earlier than initially thought.
“It’s hard not being able to do normal things like go food shopping together, but it’s all we’ve ever known, so it isn’t too difficult for us.”
Monique was introduced to Arthur when her close friend – and Arthur’s half-sister – was on the phone to him in February 2019. Arthur had already been behind bars for 10 years.
Before falling for the killer, she had been in a relationship for 13 years with the father of her two children, but it was going downhill as they had ‘grown apart.’
When Arthur asked to speak to Monique – after hearing her voice in the background – she picked up the phone out of curiosity.
Monique said: “He said hello and I greeted him back. It was very brief, as I had no interest in really talking to him at first.
“Arthur was involved with a young lady who he thought was ‘the one’ but in all reality she was very toxic for him and not what he needed as a man trying to rehabilitate himself and grow as a person.
“I was there when Arthur called his sister again and he asked to speak to me – only this time he was asking if he could call and write and at first, I just wasn’t interested, I turned him down.
“His sister explained to him how it was disrespectful for him to keep trying to flirt with me.
“Arthur eventually apologised to me during our third phone call and bought me flowers to make it up to me.
“At this point, my ex and I were done with our relationship but he was still living in the house.
“Arthur called his sister yet again when we were on break and we spoke. He asked if he could put money on my phone so he could call and if he could write me a letter.
“I accepted and told him he has to send a letter to his sister’s house first.
“He was really into me from what his sister had told him.
“She said how I had never left her side whilst she was battling depression and told him how I remained present and loyal. He took note of that.”
Arthur and Monique soon struck up a relationship – phoning each other several times a day as they bonded over their love of family and religion.
They wrote up to five letters a week to each other and Monique would top up Arthur’s prison phone allowance so the pair could talk as much as possible.
“I couldn’t wait to talk to him and to receive letters. I wanted to do cartwheels every time I got a letter. I still do,” she said.
Arthur Alexander Mccall, 34, shot twice and killed Jonah Simms in Sacramento, California on 21st November 2008.
Arthur was a member of the Oak Blood Parks gang at the time – with Simms in rival gang Nogales Gangster Crips.
Arthur fired three to four bullets at Simms unprovoked outside a block of apartments, with witnesses overhearing the rounds being fired and one witness identifying Arthur from a line-up.
Arthur was convicted of Simms’ murder in January 2011 and was sentenced to two 25-to-life sentences – one for first-degree-murder and an additional 25 years to life for the firearm enhancement, and an additional 10 years for the gang enhancement.
In total, Arthur received a minimum of 60 years in prison.
He now lives in a male-only state prison with 3,721 residents and receives regular visits from Monique – who lives four hours away from the prison.
She has introduced both of her children to Arthur, who have accepted him into the family, and they often come to visit him alongside their mum.
In June 2019 the pair met for the first time, having developed strong feelings for each other through letters and phone calls.
“It had been months of getting to know one another emotionally, spiritually, mentally and sexually through letters and phone calls,” Monique said.
“Our relationship blossomed from strangers, friends, best friends, soul mates to now husband and wife. Over the months, we both opened up to one and other.
“This was all new to Arthur as far as having a real woman by his side who really listened, loved and cared about his overall wellbeing as a man and not a gangster or a felon or convict.
“My last relationship wasn’t healthy.
“With Arthur, we just really clicked from the beginning. We both had challenging upbringings, his being more traumatic than mine but we could relate. Before he proposed, we started calling each other husband and wife, it just felt right.
“On July 3rd he called me in a frantic state and told me to go to his grandmother’s house – who I hadn’t met.
“I arranged to go over there and when I got there, to my surprise, he spoke with his grandma about wanting to marry me and how he feels bad that he couldn’t buy me a right ring at the moment.
“His grandmother instructed him to have me come over and when I did, she presented me with a beautiful 14k gold ring that she had owned for some time but couldn’t fit it anymore.”
Monique was brought to tears by the gesture, and instantly decided she wanted to marry Arthur in any form of ceremony that they could.
She even had his initials tattooed on her ring finger during the wait to set a wedding date.
After months of waiting, the pair were granted a wedding ceremony by the prison itself on 21rd February 2020.
Arthur was still made to wear his blue prison scrubs, and Monique wore a white dress fit for the occasion, complete with a veil.
The ceremony was legally binding unlike some ‘prison weddings’ which are unofficial.
Monique said: “It just felt right, even though it couldn’t be in a church ceremony like I had always dreamed of. We had red heart balloons behind us, and looking into Arthur’s eyes, I couldn’t have been happier.
“My children were there too, and we took plenty of photos.
“The kids were happy to see me so excited, and they’ve always been supportive of us both.
“Mine and Arthur’s families have been nothing but accepting, which is a blessing.
“I brought a ‘just married’ shirt for myself after the ceremony ended, and we took photos with that too.
“Arthur had been incarcerated every year since the age of 12. He was heavily into gangs – he was convicted for murder at the age of 23 and sentenced to 60 double life.
“Since he committed his crime under age 25, he was charged as a youth offender.
“Just a few weeks ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom, signed prop AB 965 which will allow people incarcerated as youth to earn time off their earliest parole date. Which means that Arthur will go to board in about three to five years and has the possibility of coming home sooner.
“With me coming into Arthur’s life, he expressed that I gave him hope, love, security, a family and purpose. Now, he has an improved outlook on life and its purpose.
“Arthur loves being a stepfather to my kids, and treats them like his own.
“He speaks to them on the phone at least once a week, and they think he’s a good guy. It doesn’t bother them at all that he’s in prison as they see how happy he makes me.
“He’s more focused on doing all the right things while incarcerated – getting his college degree, attending groups, writing a book, our marriage, starting a family and living happily ever after.
“The challenge we face is him being in prison altogether. But with each other’s love, comfort and support, we will make it through on top.”