Local News

Durham man charged with bigamy

Posted July 24, 2008 11:22 a.m. EDT
Updated July 24, 2008 5:58 p.m. EDT

— A Durham man has been charged with bigamy after his wife tipped off Chapel Hill police that he was married to someone else.

John Dee Burton Jr., 43,  of 2218 Fitzgerald Ave. in Durham, was charged with one felony count of bigamy. He was released on bond after a brief appearance in court Thursday morning.

Police said Burton married one woman in 1993 and separated from her eight or nine years later. But never divorced her before marrying another woman.

"He figured, from what he told us, that because they were not living together anymore and some time had passed, that he was divorced,"said Dawn Hunter, an investigator with the Chapel Hill Police Department.

Both women lived in Chapel Hill, police said, and the second wife went to police to report the alleged bigamy after an earlier confrontation with the first wife.

"The other woman had approached her sometime back before she decided that she wanted something done," Hunter said, declining to specify what led to the police report.

Police declined to provide the names of the wives.

Investigators said they believe the alleged bigamy hadn't been caught earlier because Burton used "John Dee Burton" on the first marriage license and "John Dee Burton Jr." on the second one.

"From looking at the licenses themselves, you can tell where he left his 'Jr.' off at the end of his name, but he used the same date of birth," Hunter said.

Investigators said they don't believe Burton married any other women during this period. He did have an earlier wife, whom he divorced in 1989, police said.

"At this time, I do not see where there are any other victims," Hunter said.