"come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Ed,
a life of total lies and a legend in his head.
Then one day his last wife had him nailed;
ole' Ed, the bigamist, had a year of being jailed!"
Marrying man left loose ends
He was indicted on bigamy charge in Fairfax; Chesapeake investigates
BY PAUL BRADLEY -- TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
ALEXANDRIA -- Call Ed Hicks the marrying man. On an Internet dating site, the 61-year-old described himself as being "in love with love."
So fond is he of the institution of marriage that the Alexandria man has exchanged vows seven times in the past 40 years.
But Charles Edward Hicks' proclivity for romance has left not only a trail of broken hearts and unpaid debts but trouble with the law. According to court records, four of those marriages took place while Hicks was married to somebody else.
In July, Hicks was indicted by a Fairfax County grand jury on a felony bigamy charge, a rare crime punishable by a minimum of two years in jail and a maximum of 10.
Late last month, however, Hicks avoided going to trial, seeming to slip through a loophole in Virginia law. The quirk led prosecutors to drop the bigamy charge against him, though they reserved the right to charge him again.
Meanwhile, authorities in Chesapeake are investigating Hicks and considering whether he can be charged with bigamy there. Chesapeake police have been in contact with Fairfax authorities and with two of Hicks' wives.
Today, he remains married to two women: Julie Flint-Hicks of Layton, Utah, and Sandra Phipps Hicks of Fairfax.
Or does he?
Undisputed, according to a marriage license, is the fact that Hicks married the former Julie Flint on April 15, 1997, in California. It was his sixth marriage. They have not divorced.
Also undisputed, according to documents, is that Hicks married the former Sandra Phipps on May 26, 2003, in the Bahamas. That would seem to mean that Hicks' marriage to Phipps qualified as bigamy.
But not so fast. In the eyes of Virginia law, Hicks and Flint might not ever have been legally married.
That's because court documents and marriage licenses show that when the couple wed in 1997, he was still married to his fifth wife, Rose Marie Sewell. They wed in 1995, and their divorce became final May 6, 1997 -- three weeks after Hicks married Flint.
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 -- in this case, that means the marriage to Flint.
So if a person marries a third time after the first marriage has been dissolved, bigamy doesn't apply. That's because the first marriage (to Sewell) had ended, and legally speaking, the second marriage (to Flint) doesn't count. That would leave the third marriage (to Phipps) intact.
That doesn't mean Hicks is off the hook, however. Because he and Flint lived for about a year in Chesapeake, he could be charged there.
Bringing bigamy charges is rare in Virginia. A computer search of 20 years of Times-Dispatch archives found the paper reported on 18 cases statewide in which people were accused, indicted or convicted on bigamy charges. Fifteen were men and three were women. Most punishments involved jail terms of less than a year.
Neither Hicks nor his lawyer, Richard S. Simpson, returned phone calls for this article. Simpson has said that Hicks "is dealing with some scorned women who are very angry."
To that, Phipps said: "We're scammed, not scorned."
Both Phipps and Flint are moving to have their marriages annulled -- Flint in Utah and Phipps in Fairfax. Both want their marriages with Hicks behind them, and both want to see Hicks jailed.
Flint said she was forced into bankruptcy and lost her car after debts Hicks had accrued on her credit cards went unpaid.
"He has done this time and time again," Flint said.Phipps said she had to refinance her home to cover the debts racked up during her marriage to Hicks.
Phipps, who met Hicks on an Internet dating site, said, "He's an Internet predator. He targets women. He'll keep on doing it."
The women didn't always feel that way. Both said they fell hard for Hicks, whom they described as intelligent, charismatic and fun.
"He makes you feel like you're the only woman in the world," Flint said.Phipps, a 49-year-old federal government employee, was living in Fairfax, he in Chesapeake, when they met online. For their first date, they arranged to meet in Richmond. They hit it off immediately.
Hicks said nothing of his wife in Chesapeake and said he had been married once before, Phipps said. She was impressed that he worked for the Army Publishing Directorate and held a low-level security clearance. He frequently traveled to Northern Virginia on business and to see Phipps.
"I've been around this town long enough to know what a security clearance means," she said. "I thought he was on the up and up."They boated together, went fishing. Even before Hicks moved to Northern Virginia, Phipps took in his two teenage children into her town house. The couple married in 2003 in the Bahamas, where they had bought some property, looking forward to retirement together.
She had no idea he was married to someone else until April. It was then that she called the Internal Revenue Service to inquire about an overdue tax refund.
She was told the IRS applied the money to a tax lien from Hicks' 1999 joint return with Julie Flint. She called Flint, who told her she was still married to Hicks. Phipps kicked him out, changed the locks on the town house and went to police.
Since then, Phipps has waged a campaign to bring Hicks to justice. She and Flint have become friends. She has traced the information on Hicks' earlier marriages and flagged his ads on Internet dating sites. She has pressed police and prosecutors and pitched the story to the media.
"It is mind-boggling to me that in Virginia, my marriage may still be legitimate," Phipps said. "I'm determined to end his predatory career. I don't want him to do to another woman what he did to me."Contact Paul Bradley at firstname.lastname@example.org
A few emails good ole' Ed sent to a new victim while he was still married to Wife #6 and courting soon-to-be Wife #7!
Of course, Wives #6 & 7 did not know about one another and nor did they know about the new victims! It wasn't until Wife #7 kicked Ed the fabricator of lie upon lie out of her home and found a backup copy of his Federal Government Department of Defense work email did she learn about all the other victims.
(Our comments, which we couldn't help but add, are in purple)
From: Hicks, Ed (ed.hicks@XX.mil)
Sent: Monday, November 04, 2002 3:06 PM
To: another hapless target
Subject: RE: Happy Monday
Okay, if you ask than I know you really want me to attend or just spend a Friday or Saturday with you....... I would like that. Yes, we are a pair..........
I will be there in a few.
Love you, (PUKE PUKE PUKE)
From: a victim Ed was seeing WHILE MARRIED TO WIFE #7
Sent: Monday, November 04, 2002 2:58 PM
To: Ed Hicks
Subject: Happy Monday
I'm at home. I just left you a voice message with that info but you might not check that for a while. I needed a day off so I called CXX last night and left a message that I wouldn't be in today. I can't do that often, and haven't done it before, but sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. . .
The two of us are a pair. I don't ask for more of your time because I don't want to make you feel torn or conflicted about seeing me versus spending time with AXXX and EXXX. I always want you to be around; I wanted you to be with me all day Saturday and was hoping you were coming in to town Sunday. You aren't interfering with my routine; I didn't know that's what you thought. Actually, I'd like for you to be part of my routine but that doesn't seem to be happening very consistently. The travelling you're going to be doing only makes these pressures worse for you; I'm very reluctant to add to that by asking for your time. This has to be your call; if there's a time or event or something that I'd really like you to be with me I'll let you know.
You just called so I'm going to stop and send this to you.
Sent: Monday, November 04, 2002 10:46 AM
To: hapless victim
Subject: 2nd Edition...................
Hi Honey (they love these cute names, since ACTUALLY REMEMBERING YOUR REAL NAME BECOMES A PROBLEM WHEN THERE ARE SO MANY!!!!)
First let me comment on the job interview. They will be crazy not to select you. I get a good feel for the type of worker you are and any dept. would be greatly enhanced having you on staff............ That opinion could be a little bias....... Smile.
I know what you mean about the pushes and pulls of our relationship. I feel the anxious times as well. (YEAH, LIKE SHOULD I BOTHER GETTING ANOTHER DIVORCE OR JUST KEEP LYING??) One for me was yesterday. I wanted so much for you to say come to Norfolk. I resisted my inner feelings of asking. (BECAUSE I WAS WITH MY WIFE!!!) I just don't want to interfere and I expect us to be straight forward with each other when it comes to time together......... How do we bridge the gap that is clearly evident when it comes to things like this? Suggestions welcomed............. (PLEASE HELP ME LIE!! PLEASE!!)
I was glad to hear your Saturday went well with all the functions you had on your schedule......... That would have been a great time to see you in your environment............. Smile.
Well the dreaded trips are starting. I have to be at Ft. Belvoir on Thursday. Possibly flying to Huntsville on Friday with the possibility of leaving Huntsville and going to Rock Island, IL. Sound like fun; well it is not........... I hate the south so Huntsville is not to my liking......... It is getting cold at Rock Island and I don't like cold............. ( I think the Huntsville thing is a go - Rock Island ?????????
Sounds like the perfect time when I get back for us to go on a GET ACQUAINTED TRIP to CA. I could be gone for a 1 - 1/2 weeks if things don't go well. If they do it could be shorter.
What is on the agenda for today............. Dinner in or out? How is the lake doing in front of the house? Has LXX heard anything from the Marines? GOD, I MISS YOU................ (I MISS ANYONE WHO IS STILL BELIEVING MY CRAP, or anyone who I have an OUTSIDE CHANCE of selling my lies too!!)
Making a difference (Stop me .... before I say something RUDE! LOL)