Saturday, December 17, 2005
Bolivia, North Carolina Man's Wife, Julia Bish, Charged With Bigamy
By: Latricia Thomas
It's supposed to be the most memorable day of your life, but for one Bolivia man, the day he said "I do" is one he wishes he could forget. It turns out his wife is not just "his" wife.
A quaint Las Vegas chapel, family and friends, a white dress...all the ingredients for a perfect wedding. But for Mark Hunt of Bolivia it turned out to be a nightmare. This military man met his bride four months before on the internet. He said, "I was looking around to see who I could talk to and she responded."
She is thirty-two year old Julia Bish. Mark and his parents met her face to face for the first time on the wedding trip. Right away, something just didn't make sense. Hunt's mother, Joanne, says, "She had a picture on the internet and it did not look like her."
Mark recalls, "It just got worse. I didn't hear from her for periods of time and I started figuring out something was wrong but I didn't know what it was."
Little did he know, the worst was yet to come. Months after the wedding, Mark and his family found out Julia was already married. She has five children with Randy Bish, her husband of fourteen years who lives in Pennsylvania.
Mark said he, "just broke down, couldn't go no more, I finally had to confront her face to face to find out exactly what was going on. And that's when the truth finally came out."
This isn't the first time Julia married another man. We found the record of another wedding in June of 2002 to a Lawrence Judah of Oklahoma. He later annulled the marriage, a process that Mark Hunt is going through right now. Hunt's father, Richard, says, "For somebody to put a scam like that on a trusting individual that you get close to, that's wrong, that's criminal."
Julia faces two counts of bigamy. It's a misdemeanor that could bring two years in prison and a five thousand dollar fine. NewsChannel 3 has also learned that Julia's first husband is fighting for custody of their five children.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
On Thursday, December 15, 2005, Ed Hicks' latest victim, Barbara Grant will appear on ABC's Good Morning America with her sister, Linda Hembree.
Linda recognized Ed Hicks during Dr. Phil's Monday show, Conned by a Con Artist. Linda called Barbara and then called the police. Ed Hicks was arrested shortly thereafter on a fugitive warrant for the felony of bigamy.
Hicks met Grant via an ONLINE DATING SITE.
Ed Hicks currently sits in a jail cell in Mecklenberg County North Carolina where he is fighting extradition to Chesapeake, Virginia.
Ed Hicks had proposed marriage to Barbara Grant just two weeks ago. At the time, she declined the proposal, but Linda Hambree believes the two would have eventually wed. He is still married to Sandra Hicks and an annulment between Ed Hicks and Julie Flint-Hicks was just finalized in late October. Sandra Phipps-Hicks has filed for an annulment or a divorce, depending on the decision of a Fairfax County, Virginia judge. Her civil case against Ed Hicks will be heard on January 4, 2006.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Friday, December 09, 2005
He escaped trial in Fairfax County this year, but now he faces a case in Chesapeake
BY PAUL BRADLEY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
From: THE RICHMOND-TIMES DISPATCH
An Alexandria man who has been married seven times in the past 40 years was indicted yesterday by a Chesapeake grand jury on a bigamy charge.
Charles Edward Hicks, 61, was charged with marrying a former Chesapeake woman, Julie Flint, in 1997 while he was still legally married to Rose Marie Sewell. Flint was Hicks' sixth wife, Sewell his fifth.
According to court papers and marriage licenses, Hicks married Flint on April 15, 1997. His divorce from Sewell, whom he wed in 1995, did not become final until May 6, 1997 -- three weeks after Hicks and Flint exchanged vows.
Bigamy, a rarely invoked crime in Virginia, is a felony, punishable by a minimum of two years in jail and a maximum of 10.
Marriage licenses and divorce decrees show that four of Hicks' marriages overlapped, taking place while he was married to someone else. The indictment handed up by the Chesapeake grand jury marks the second time Hicks has been indicted on a bigamy charge in Virginia.
In July, Hicks was indicted by a Fairfax County grand jury on that charge. But he avoided going to trial, slipping through a loophole in Virginia law.
Hicks was charged in Fairfax with marrying his seventh wife, Sandra Goldin, in 2003 while still married to Flint-Hicks. But a quirk in Virginia law led prosecutors to drop the charge.
Under Virginia law, if someone who is already married weds a second time, the two-timer is guilty of bigamy. But that second marriage is considered invalid. That means legally speaking, Hicks and Flint-Hicks were never husband and wife. That, in turn, made the Hicks-Goldin marriage legal, leading Fairfax prosecutors to drop their case against Hicks.
Fairfax prosecutors then contacted Chesapeake prosecutors, urging them to consider charging Hicks.
Goldin, who has been pressing authorities to prosecute Hicks, said she was pleased that he had been indicted.
"I am hoping he will be incarcerated and this will stop him from victimizing other women," the Fairfax woman said. She has filed for divorce.
Hicks' many marriages will be featured next week on an episode of the "Dr. Phil" television show. (to air 12/12/05)
Contact staff writer Paul Bradley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 548-8758.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
Legislator considers an online dating law
By Matt Adrian
SPRINGFIELD -- A Southern Illinois Democrat is considering legislation requiring online dating services to perform criminal background checks to weed out predators that might be lurking on the Internet.
State Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, said he was surprised to learn that these services were not required to perform background checks on members.
"One thing I was trying to come up with is a way to make sure you have a simple background check on somebody before you allow them to advertise," he said. "It seems to me that there should at least be a non-sex-offender requirement."
Bradley said he is considering creating legislation to address this potential problem, but a trade group representing the industry argues the regulation is unnecessary could be expensive and ineffective.
Rich Gosse, founder of the International Association of Dating Web sites, a trade group with over 100 members, said lawmakers mistakenly view online dating as more dangerous than other forms of meeting people.
"We recommend to people that they use common sense when dating on the Internet. Internet dating is not anymore safe or anymore dangerous than any other method of meeting people," he said. "I tell people that you can meet people in church and they could be a hatchet murderer."
Nationally, the Web site True.com has pushed for states to require online dating background checks, a practice that the Texas-based company does itself in least 44 states and Washington, D.C. However, these checks are not always statewide in scope.
In November, True.com filed a lawsuit against a California man who was convicted in 2001 of attempted lewd and lascivious acts with a child under age 14. The man had filled out a questionnaire on the Web site stating he was not a felon.
"I challenge the rest of the online and relationship and dating industry to follow our lead and show similar concern for their members' safety," said Herb Vest, the company's founder and CEO, in a related press release.
However, other dating services view the company's proposal as a ploy to push its competitors out of business.
"They are trying to get government to create a monopoly," Gosse said.
Gosse also suggests that in-depth criminal background checks can be expensive and still not uncover a felon's record.
"They still won't be 100 percent safe," he said. "There is no way of doing a criminal background check on somebody all over the country that will go through every courthouse in the United States."
Requiring more background investigations have become a popular for lawmakers.
During the recent veto session, the Illinois General Assembly approved legislation requiring medical schools to perform checks on potential students.
The soonest lawmakers could debate such a proposal would be in January.