Grandmother accused of bigamy pleads guilty

Interesting article from VLW:

Shirley Smith-Smart admits there is evidence to convict her

Shirley Smith-Smart, accused of bigamy

ISLE OF WIGHT – As three of her 10 former husbands watched, 71-year-old Shirley Smith-Smart pleaded guilty to bigamy in Isle of Wight Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Smith-Smart, who is also known in court records as Shirley Inez Cassara, entered an Alford plea on a bigamy charge related to her December 2004 marriage to Elden Bowen. An Alford plea means that Smith-Smart acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction, but she is not admitting guilt.

Smith-Smart was charged with committing bigamy, perjury and forgery on Dec. 23, 2004, when she and Bowen – her eighth husband – obtained a marriage license at the Isle of Wight Courthouse, said Isle of Wight Commonwealth’s Attorney Wayne Farmer. That afternoon, the couple exchanged nuptials at the nearby Isle of Wight Wedding Chapel.

Smith-Smart indicated that she was divorced on her marriage license application, but documents presented in court show she was still legally married to her seventh husband, Benny Cassara, at the time, Farmer said. Her divorce from Cassara was finalized in James City Circuit Court in June 2006.

Smith-Smart could receive a maximum of 10 years in prison for the bigamy conviction when she is sentenced on March 30. The court dropped the perjury and forgery charges in exchange for her guilty plea for bigamy.
Smith-Smart was allowed to remain free on bond, but was ordered to report to the regional probation office in Suffolk Wednesday afternoon to begin her pre-sentencing interview.

Smith-Smart was visibly nervous and shaky in front of the judge. Outside the courtroom, she ignored questions from reporters and used her brother and her attorney, Richard W. Ratajczak, as shields from media cameras.

Bowen said he was frustrated that Smith-Smart was allowed to remain free on bond, particularly after her attorney told Judge Rodham Delk that she is not on probation. Court records show that Smith-Smart received a one-year suspended sentence, to be followed by probation, after pleading guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice in York County General District Court in August.

Ratajczak said that wasn’t mentioned because the judge was referring only to charges prior to 2004, when the bigamy incident occurred.

“This is bull. Where is the justice here?” said Bowen, who said he plans to file a civil lawsuit as soon as Smith-Smart’s upcoming legal battles in Gloucester County are over. Several of her ex-husbands claim that Smith-Smart married them, then gradually took control of their assets and bank accounts, and finally filed spousal abuse charges against them.

“I want her to serve some time. I worked for a long time to get where I was and then I lost everything to her,” Bowen said. “I don’t hate her, but I despise her ways. She’s a slick little thing.”

Also in March, Smith-Smart is scheduled to be tried in Gloucester Circuit Court on four counts of embezzlement and four counts of using a computer to commit larceny. The charges are related to the theft of $12,000 from the individual bank account of her estranged 10th husband, Kenneth Smart, last July while he was incarcerated on contempt charges stemming from their divorce proceedings.

She also has a divorce hearing in February in Gloucester.

Smart said he was surprised to see Smith-Smart plead guilty on Wednesday.

“It’s going to be interesting to see what she gets when everything plays out over the next two or three months,” Smart said.

Please contact us if you have questions or need legal assistance.
Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C.
Charlottesville, Virginia
434-973-7474
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