Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bigamist 'Can't Remember' Who He Divorced

A traveling minister who served two years in prison on bigamy charges has been jailed again for allegedly trying to marry more women.

Bishop Anthony Owens, a 35-year-old formerly of Duluth, is in a Gwinnett County jail after at least four women claimed he proposed to them after being released from prison in November 2005.

Officials also say there is no evidence he divorced the eight wives he had married before going to prison.

A judge will decide whether he should go back to prison. Owens, who turned himself into the jail on April 30th, declined to be interviewed.

But his new fiancees aren't keeping quiet.

Betty Dixon, who's 38, met him last March in a casino near Memphis and calls him, "a slick talker." Nurse Cheryl Selmon, who's 48, says Owens proposed to her last October. A month later, he proposed to Darlene Keeler, a 42-year-old manager of a gospel group.

Then he met 43-year-old Karen Ward, a mother of two young children, and proposed to her.

According to police reports, Owens' first marriage was in 1990 in Memphis, Tennessee, Owens' birthplace. At the age of 18, he married 43-year-old Joanna Hill.

He said the marriage was troubled from the start and that a misunderstanding of Mormon teachings led him to marry 41-year-old Earleen Mabien in 1992, even though he was still married to his first wife.

After Earleen, Owens married Queenie Sanders in South Carolina in 1995.

Then Valerie Brown in Alabama in 1997. Then Mattie Noland in 1999, also in Alabama. Then Paulette Miller-Owens in 2001 back in Tennessee. Then Shirley Rhodes eleven months later in the same Tennessee county. And, finally, Gwen Robinson of Duluth in 2002.

During their marriage, Robinson learned about the other wives and called Gwinnett County police.

Owens has said he did divorce some of the wives, but he can't remember which ones.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.

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