Woman facecs bigamy charges

February 10, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -A woman allegedly married to a Virginia man and a Berkeley County man at the same time has been charged with a felony count of bigamy.

Elizabeth Putman, 46, of Royal Crest Drive in Martinsburg, was arraigned on the charge Thursday night. She is free on $2,500 bail.

Putman married David Dellinger in Shenandoah County, Va., on Feb. 20, 1999. While still married to Dellinger, she allegedly married Christopher Bell on Aug. 3, 2000, in Berkeley County, according to copies of both marriage certificates in Putman's case file in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.


In a seven-page handwritten statement, also included in the file, Putman wrote that her marriage to Dellinger was turbulent from nearly the beginning and that she believed they were divorced when she married Bell.

Dellinger changed the locks on their house and said "our marriage was over, it never had been nothing but a joke and he was filing for a divorce," Putman wrote in her statement. When she remarried, she said she thought she and Dellinger were divorced.

"Why would I think anything different," she wrote.

After Putman married her second husband, Dellinger contacted police and sent a letter to The Herald-Mail, saying he hoped "something will be done about this matter."

In August 2002, two years after she married Bell and more than three years after she married Dellinger, Putman asked for her maiden name back and filed for divorce from Dellinger, according to court records.

"She's still married to both of them as far as we can tell," said Sgt. Russell Shackelford of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department.

A conviction of bigamy carries a sentence of one to five years in prison.

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