Jailhouse-orange marriage proposal
EAGLE ” The sign read “Marry me Nikki.” Thing is, the sign was too small for Nikki to see it from her jail-cell window.
So jail administrator Tom Brandle walked into the cell and asked Monica “Nikki” Potter if she knew what the white strips of cloth with black marker said.
“I love you,” Potter asked him. “I can’t read it. Does it say marry me?”
“Yes. It says marry me,” Brandle said.
On Wednesday, Potter watched from her cell as boyfriend Ron Tejada backed into a parking stall at the rear of the jail. Tejada fussed around for a while, came back around the side of the car, waved to Potter and then drove away.
“He’s always asking me to marry him, but never in person,” Potter said.
In 69 days in jail, Tejada sent Potter 70-some letters, she said.
Eagle County Sheriff’s employees thought what Tejada left was just trash.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to clean this crap up,’ and then I thought ‘Oh my God, how romantic,'” sheriff’s spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis said.
Tejada had come to Eagle from Phoenix to speak on behalf of Potter during a court appearance Tuesday. Potter originally got slapped with jail time and probation after being convicted on a trespassing charge while she lived in the valley. The trespassing charge came during a difficult time in Potter’s life, during which she battled booze, she said.
Potter now admits to being an alcoholic after kicking the habit nearly two years ago.
Potter is now accused of violating probation by missing court appearances after she moved to Phoenix.
After the stint in jail for trespassing, she moved to Phoenix and met Tejada. She lived and worked at the home where Tejada’s mother and disabled sister live ” a rough part of the city Potter called the “hood.”
Potter said Tejada worked hard to support his mother and sister. It seems Tejada plans to do the same for Potter when she gets out of jail.
But for now Potter’s future is uncertain and in the hands of a judge. She might receive three additional years in jail, more probation, or something in between, Potter said.
“Hopefully, I’ll be released,” she said. “I’m not a hardened criminal.”
Indeed, Potter doesn’t appear to be a hardened criminal. She has shoulder-length blonde hair and a pretty face that blushes intensely when she’s embarrassed. The only criminal giveaway is the orange jumpsuit she wears.
And while she wears the jailhouse colors, she’s confident in the staying power of her relationship with Tejada.
“Whatever happens, I know Ron is going to be there,” she said.
And after finding out what the sign read, did she agree to marry him?
“Of course I’ll marry him,” Potter said. “I’d marry him a million times.”
Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or firstname.lastname@example.org.