Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
Bremen woman nets probation for bigamy
By Shelley Grieshop
A New Bremen woman was sentenced to probation after admitting she was married to two men at the same time.
Mary C. Lockhart, 43, also known in court records as Mary C. Grillot, 10 E. Vine St., pleaded guilty recently in Auglaize County Municipal Court to a charge of bigamy, a first-degree misdemeanor. A charge of falsification, also a misdemeanor, was dismissed in a plea agreement.
Judge Gary Herman ordered Lockhart to remain on probation until Jan. 1, 2011, and pay court costs. A violation of probation terms could result in a 6-month or longer jail term.
Lockhart had faced a maximum six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. She remained free from jail following her arrest in August.
The information that led to Lockhart's arrest came from concerned family members who offered proof to officials that she was married to two men at the same time, according to the Auglaize County Sheriff's office.
Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Jerry Sawmiller said an investigation revealed that Lockhart was legally married to two men during a 10-month period.
Lockhart reportedly married Kelsey Grillot on Aug. 30, 2008, but did not file for divorce from Robert T. Lockhart until December 2008. That divorce was not finalized until June 24, according to Auglaize County court records. The couple were married on June 24, 1999.
At the time of her arrest, Lockhart told officials she believed her marriage to Robert Lockhart was not legal because he had been married to at least one other woman when they were wed. Sawmiller said an investigation into her allegation against Robert Lockhart was found to be false.
Bigamy charges are rare in the U.S. The crime is defined in the Ohio Revised Code as the act of marrying one person while still legally married to another. The literal meaning of bigamy is "second marriage." In order to convict someone of bigamy, prosecutors must prove there was intent.
In the U.S., if a husband or wife is absent, not heard from or not known to be alive for seven (or in some states five) years, he or she is presumed dead and remarriage by the other spouse is not considered bigamous.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1878 that plurality of wives, as originally permitted by the Mormon religion, violated criminal law and could not be used to exercise religious liberty. The Latter-day Saints renounced bigamy in 1890, but the practice has persisted among some.