LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Morgan Thomas - email
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Police have arrested a 21-year-old Lufkin man accused of being married to two women.
Justin Wayne Mitchamore was booked into the Angelina County Jail on Monday afternoon on a bigamy charge.
According to the police report, Mitchamore married his first wife, a 21-year-old, in March of 2008 in Kansas. Three weeks later, the two separated, and Mitchamore told her he would file for divorce.
Mitchamore filed for divorce in Sept. 2009, but neither spouse showed up for the April 2010 hearing, so the divorce was not granted.
"Simply filing for divorce is just the first step," Det. J.B. Smith said. "The court has to finalize that. You have to have the final decree of marriage before you move on."
Mitchamore then applied for a marriage license in Dec. 2009 to a second woman, Johna Bynum, 27, in Angelina County. According to the report, Mitchamore's first wife saw his name in a Lufkin newspaper and pressed charges in June 2010.
Bynum's mother said in a phone interview Tuesday that her daughter didn't know her new husband was still married when they went to make it official.
The investigating officer let Mitchamore know a warrant was obtained on Aug. 12 for his arrest and Mitchamore agreed to surrender. He was arrested after making an appearance at the Angelina County Courthouse and taken into custody without incident.
Mitchamore was released from jail on a personal recognizance bond by Sheriff Kent Henson.
Bigamy is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Complaints of bigamy are rare, but Smith says arrests are even more uncommon.
"This is a more unique case because the divorce was never finalized before the other marriage happened," Smith said.
Mitchamore may have hoped for a fresh start with a new marriage, but Smith says it will likely be declared invalid.