Ramblings of Silver Blue

07 Jun

At times…

….one doesn’t have to be a bigamist to have one wife too many.

Bigamist sentenced in Chesapeake for having two wives
By JOHN HOPKINS, The Virginian-Pilot
© June 4, 2005
Last updated: 12:41 AM

CHESAPEAKE — A former Chesapeake man was sentenced Friday to 60 days in jail for bigamy – a rare crime, but one that occurs nearly every year somewhere in South Hampton Roads.

Christopher Alexander Bolden, 39, was convicted in March of marrying a local woman while he was already married to another person. He was arrested Nov. 29, 2004.

Circuit Judge Bruce H. Kushner sentenced Bolden to two years in prison but suspended the term on the condition that Bolden serve 60 days in jail.

Upon his release, Bolden, a native of Gary, Ind., must serve an indefinite period of supervised probation.

Bolden’s second wife, Sherry Bolden , testified Friday that her family was devastated by his actions.

“This is not a victimless crime,’’ she said.

Bolden left his second wife, cleaned out a bank account and disappeared one week before they were to close on a house, according to court testimony. He told her he had been divorced, she testified.

She later found a telephone number and discovered there was another wife outside Virginia.

Bolden’s attorney described him as a “law-abiding, productive member of society ’’ who thought he was divorced from his first wife. He has no prior criminal record.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Derek Wagner asked the court for a sentence of five years in prison and called Bolden’s actions ”unacceptable behavior.’’

“He simply can not perpetrate this kind of fraud on an entire family,’’ Wagner said.

Bigamy is either rare or underreported in South Hampton Roads. According to court records between 1992 and 2003, there were at least 31 bigamy cases prosecuted in the region.

Sentencing guidelines recommend probation without incarceration for offenders who have no prior record. A review of cases from 2000 and 2001 shows the majority of cases were resolved without the offender serving jail time, according to the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission.

Bolden’s case comes five months after a 33-year-old Virginia Beach man was convicted of the same offense.

In January, William Allen Richardson was convicted in Chesapeake Circuit Court for marrying a woman in 2003 while already married, according to court records. Richardson received a three-year suspended prison sentence after entering a guilty plea.

In 2000, Richardson married a woman in Salt Lake City, Utah, during a Wiccan ceremony, according to court records. His second marriage came in February 2003. He was arrested for the crime on July 23, 2004.

Reach John Hopkins at 222-5221 or at john.hopkins@pilotonline.com.

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