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Charges filed in rare bigamy case

Published 10:06pm Monday, June 17, 2013

A Franklin County man was arrested on Tuesday after officials say he married a woman when he was still legally married to someone else.
Elton Strickland, 39, Franklin 36, Russellville, was arrested on the charge of bigamy, which is a Class C felony.
According to Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing, his office was made aware of the allegations in May shortly after Strickland married his second wife.
“We received information that Mr. Strickland and his first wife were going through divorce proceedings at the time, but the divorce had not been finalized when he got married to his second wife,” Rushing said.
“This meant that he was technically still married, which made him legally married to both women at once.”
Rushing said the divorce paperwork was filed on April 29, 2013, and stated that neither party was to marry another person for 60 days until the divorce became final.
According to records in the Franklin County Probate Office, Strickland remarried on May 12, 2013 – only 13 days after the divorce settlement from his first wife was filed.
“The wording was very clear that neither Mr. Strickland nor his first wife could remarry another person in that 60-day period,” Rushing said.
“Since he violated those terms, that meant he committed the crime of bigamy, which is against the law.”
Rushing said all the information in the case was presented to the May session of the Franklin County grand jury and jurors chose to indict Strickland on the charges.
“Bigamy cases are very rare here,” Rushing said.
“I could count on one hand the number of bigamy cases I’ve dealt with in my 15 years with the DA’s office. It’s just not something you see a lot of because the evidence is so clear cut and well-documented– divorce and marriage documents are pretty solid information when it comes to determining if marriages have overlapped.”
Strickland was able to post bond and was released from custody.
Rushing said his arraignment would be scheduled for the end of the month.

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