Mary Hamer and Joran Van Der Sloot. (photos by Raul Garcia Pereira Newsweek and Polaris) "I will mend your wounds, I will heal your scars but I haven't kissed you yet ..."
Those are the lyrics to a song on an album for Joran Van Der Sloot. Mary Hamer, a 55-year-old Florida radiologist, is working on the album to raise money to free the 24-year-old Dutchman suspected of two murders.
Hamer was on The Today Show on Wednesday to talk about her "unconditional love" for Van Der Sloot which developed over the past year after an exchange of letters and multiple visits to the Peruvian prison where Van Der Sloot awaits trial for the murder of Stephanie Flores.
"The more I know Joran, the more I see there's a beautiful person there," Hamer told NBC's Michelle Kosinski.
While she's only discussed things like Gandhi and disco music with Van Der Sloot, steering clear of those terrifying acts he's been accused of, she's convinced he's innocent. Even if he's not, she says, her "love is unconditional."
So far, Hamer has spent over $20,000 on his legal fees, delivered various care packages and promised to move to Peru if he's sentenced. She also plans to be there for his upcoming trial.
Though she insists her feelings for him not romantic, one of the songs on her album dedicated to Van Der Sloot is called "I Will Rescue You." Another, which she made of video of, is called "I Haven't Kiss You Yet." In it, she entices a rigid young man with her womanly wiles and a warbled slow jam.
She may have some competition. Joran Van Der Sloot fan clubs and tribute videos (one subtitled "have my babies") have been pock marking the internet since 2010.
"The more notorious, the stronger the allure," Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University told D Magazine. "These are usually women who would love to date a rock star or rap idol, but if they wrote to a musician, they might get a letter. Here they could get a marriage proposal."
True to form, Hamer has also extended a loving offer to pop crooner Michael Buble. One of the songs on her Van Der Sloot fundraising album is called, "Hey Buble, Come Ride With Me." He's less likely to take the bait.
Van Der Sloot may be the only accused killer for Hamer, but he's not the only object of affection in the penal system. It's been a romantically-charged year for death row inmates right here in the United States.
Randy Halprin, a Texas death row inmate, wed bookeeper Crystal Wilson via telephone. The pair had met after his sentencing when she entranced him with a series of love letters. While not nearly as notorious as Van Der Sloot, Halprin had made a name for himself as part of the Texas seven, a group of escaped convicts who went on an armed robbery rampage before caught.
Convicted mass murderer Jessie Dotson also found a wife during his murder trial. Just before being sentenced to death for the killing of six people, including his brother and 2 young nephews, Dotson fell for a groupie after receiving an of exchange of love letters during his trial, which was highly publicized in Memphis. As of this past May, he plans to wed in prison. Even Dotson's mother thinks the woman he's marrying, who wishes to remain anonymous, is making a mistake.
"First thing came to my mind is what is wrong with this lady? Is she crazy?," Priscilla Shaw, Dotson's mother, told a Memphis Fox News affiliate. "How can you see a killer on the news and you want to marry him? Some lady's like jail men, maybe she's one of those."
Dr. Park Dietz has a more psychoanalytic explanation. "I would be amazed if they weren't among the neediest and most dependent of woman. As in the transference cure in psychoanalysis, the women are sucking up a part of the men's ego and that gives them the illusion of being in control."
But why would someone want to be in control of a killer? Sheila Isenberg, author of Women Who Love Men Who Kill points to traumatic childhoods, absentee fathers and early abuse that may have led to sexual repression. The result is a relationship that sometimes mimics that of a caged beast and a doting zookeeper. But each woman who falls for an imprisoned criminal has her own set of reasons and her own hopes for their future together.
While Hamer, Joran's self-professed "guardian angel", says she isn't looking for a wedding ring like other prison groupies, she is startlingly committed.
In a video on The Daily Beast TV earlier this month, the blond divorcee is filmed outside the Peruvian prison claiming she's there to fight for his rights. "Somebody's got to stand up for Joran," she says, "and I believe in him."
He appears to have returned the compliment. "I've got a tear in my eye as I write this letter."
Van Der Sloot reportedly wrote in a letter Hamer proudly read on the Today Show. "I love you."
Watch Mary Hamer's music videos below:
Haven't Kissed You Yet
Buble Come Ride With Me
Related on Shine:
5 prison wives of infamous killers
Joran to plead temporary insanity?
Van Der Sloot's confessions
Will the Holloways ever have closure?