Sevierville man arrested for bigamy

Said to have wives here and in South Carolina, Ohio
May. 08, 2013 @ 09:42 PM

A local woman has filed bigamy charges against her husband after she says she learned he has two other wives in other states.

Terrie Marion filed the charges against Phillip Sean Marion, 43, of 1114 Tannager St., Wednesday morning. He turned himself in to the Sevierville Police Department around 4:30 p.m. and was taken to the Sevier County Jail, department spokesman Bob Stahlke said.

The crime is a Class A misdemeanor under state law, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. It is defined as happening when someone “Is married and purports to marry a person other than the person’s spouse in this state under circumstances that would, but for the person’s existing marriage, constitute a marriage.”

Terrie Marion says officials told her it’s the first time the charge has been filed in Sevier County in about two decades. Sheriff Ron Seals said that he wasn’t sure of the last time the charge was filed, but that it’s a rare occurrence. “We may have had them before, but it’s been a long time."

Terrie Marion told The Mountain Press she had been married to Phillip Marion since 2002. They dated a few months before tying the knot — long enough for her to learn he had a son from a previous relationship. She also had a child from an earlier marriage, and she said the two of them adopted his niece while married.

Once she learned about the son, who lived with his mother in South Carolina, she travelled with Phillip to visit the child. What she didn’t realize, she says, is that he was still married to the woman.

“We started seeing his son the year that we met, but nothing was said along the line that they were married. He had kept this a secret, now obviously she kept it a secret (too),” Terry Marion said.

She started to see through the deception when she learned the woman had gotten government assistance that listed him as her husband a few months ago, she said.

He maintained that there was some mistake, she said, but eventually they split.

She said she learned this week that he has a third wife in Ohio from an even earlier marriage, and had just filed for divorce from her. “That one really floored me,” she said.

He may have been using a false identity, she believes, and she wonders why his employer, a local lodging company, is still employing him if that’s the case.

She has not yet filed for a divorce; she's hoping to have the marriage annulled if she can prove her allegations against him.

The two met after he moved here from South Carolina. He installed a security system at her home and they hit it off, she said.

“He was so sweet and seemed so honest, and I thought that’s hard to find, and the next thing I know, I find out all these lies.”

After hearing he had been arrested, she said her feelings were a little mixed because of what he’d meant to her and her son for so long. But she thought she’d done the right thing.

“My feeling is, to be honest, I am very hurt to know what he did to me and these other women,” she said, later adding, “I feel guilty but if I didn’t stop him, who would?”

jfarrell@themountainpress.com