A jilted fiancée from Georgia has finally had her revenge. At the end of a relationship that lasted over 10 years, a state appeals court has ordered that Melissa Cooper be paid $50,000 towards compensation. Her ex-partner, IT employee Christopher Ned Kelley, was accused of breach of promise to marry.
Kelley and Cooper had been living together since 2000, with their child and Cooper’s child from a previous relationship. In December 2004, he had proposed marriage with a $10,000 ring, and the couple moved into a new home. The relationship was great for a while. Cooper even left her job at Kelly’s request to care for the children. But things started going wrong when she spotted signs of infidelity.
Cooper found out that Kelly had been in a relationship with another woman for two years before he had proposed. She confronted him, and he begged for her forgiveness. Eventually, she agreed to continue their relationship, “because of his pledges not to see the other woman again and his promises to marry her soon.” But things got worse in April 2011, when Cooper figured out that Kelly was up to no good again. He had started to see another woman. This time around, Kelly was clear about what he wanted – he asked Cooper to move out with the children so he could live with his new love.
Photo: Melissa Cooper
Understandably, Cooper was devastated by this development. So she did the only thing she could – she filed a lawsuit for multiple claims, including fraud and breach of contract to marry. The Coweta County Superior Court awarded her $43,500 and $6,500 towards attorney fees.
Kelly and his lawyer, Mark Mitchell, were obviously unhappy with this decision, so they appealed to a higher court. Kelly claimed that he had never really used the phrase, “Will You Marry Me?” Although he admitted that he might have been seeing other women, he stated they never seriously considered marriage. “We never had very many discussions around marriage,” said Kelley. “I personally never initiated any conversations around marriage.” He also spoke about the darker aspects of his relationship with Cooper. “Throughout our 10-year relationship, there will be very emotional times and you will do things that doesn’t necessarily represent, you know, the actuality of life,” he said.
In a bizarre twist, Cooper has also admitted to being unfaithful. She testified that she was in a relationship with someone else just after the proposal. But the Court of Appeals of Georgia ruled in favor of Cooper. The judge stated that the promise to marry is enforceable and the fact that the couple lived together before and after the proposal is only collateral to the promise to marry.
Kelley is still sticking to his story. “I never initiated the concept of marriage with her, outside of giving her that ring,” he insisted. Jason Smith, Cooper’s attorney, disagrees. “By law the marriage doesn’t exist, but for practical purposes, it’s a marriage,” he said. “They were together for 10 years. They acquired property together.” The property in question is the $86,000 home that Cooper and Kelley lived in. In fact, Smith believes that the monetary award was decided at half the value of the house. He has said that his client, Cooper, plans to purchase a new home for herself and her two children with the $50,000 reward.
Kelly and Mitchell might not let that happen, though. They are planning to appeal the decision to the Georgia Supreme Court.
via ABC News