Rare Bigamy Charge in Grayson County

10-20-05 - A burglary in Sherman Saturday night landed two people in the Grayson County Jail, but it’s another charge for one of the suspects that's raising eyebrows.

The Sherman Police Department and the Grayson DA's office both had trouble remembering the last time they handled a case where someone had more than one spouse, but although rare, this case happened just before a recent adjustment to the law that would have meant more jail time.

Late Saturday night 46-year-old Tamara Baker was arrested along with another suspect for burglary of a habitation on Princess Street in Sherman, but once booked, Sherman police discovered that she had an outstanding warrant issued back in July for bigamy.

It turns out Baker's estranged husband filed the complaint after spotting her wedding announcement on allpoetry.com.

Baker's new husband was also unaware of her prior marriage, which by law. protects him from bigamy charges, but in an ironic coincidence, Baker will be charged with only a misdemeanor for a crime that as of September 1 became a felony.

Since her marriage came before, the punishment won't be as severe.

Judge Joe Brown of Grayson County said, "It's now a felony, anyone who commits offense after September 2005. This was prior and it was a class a misdemeanor."

It means up to a year in county jail as opposed to 10, which is what a felony charge carries. Now anyone who unknowingly enters a bigamous marriage does have a defense in court, but the DA says that is not the case for Tamara Baker.

If a person knowingly weds a spouse that already is in a previous marriage, they too can be charged with bigamy.