LC Bigamist

Lenoir City man charged with bigamy while getting divorced


John Western Standridge (source: Loudon County Sheriff's Department)LENOIR CITY (WATE) - A Lenoir City man has been charged with marrying a woman although he was already married and getting a divorce.

A court affidavit from earlier in May charges John Western Standridge, III, with bigamy.

It says Standridge married Melanie Smith on January 1 at Old Time Gospel Church on Browder Hollow Road.

"He was good to me and so I fell in love with him quickly," said Smith.

She admitted she had only been dating Standridge for a month when she agreed to become his wife, but said she actually met him years earlier when they were teenagers at church.

"Of course knowing him, well, at least I thought I knew him, in November when he asked me marry him, I thought well I know this man so why not," she explained.

It was Smith's second marriage and she said her fiance told her he had gotten divorced earlier in the year.

The couple celebrated their new life with a simple ceremony on New Year's Day.

Smith found out she was pregnant with twins soon afterward.

"Everything was great at first and then it started going sour," said Smith.

When she started looking into a divorce she got some shocking news. According to court records her new husband was still married to Jessica Standridge.

There was a filing for their divorce on December 11, 2009.

The affidavit said a default judgement was entered on May 3.

Standridge was arrested on Sunday and taken to the Loudon County Jail. He was released on a $1,000 bond.

"Knowing that I had lived with a man from January to March and was not really married to him, that's totally against my religion and I had a lot of questions about was God going to punish me for it, but I had no idea that he was still married," said Smith.

She also said the marriage will soon be annulled and when she sees the man she believed was her husband in court, what she wants most is an apology.

"I just hope he realizes how badly, even though he may not think it, how he honestly hurt me," she said.

John Standridge said he has no comment about his arrest.