Authorities say man had one wife in Norfolk, one wife and kid in Fairfax City. But why?

August 19, 2013

Bigamy is, unfortunately, not rare in our modern times. A few years back, I wrote about Ed Hicks of Alexandria, who had committed it several times over the course of seven marriages, and more recently we learned of Kristin Gardner Jeffries Kelly Kurt of Fairfax, who appears to have married twice while still hitched to other men. The question remains: Why? Some say it is simply the action of a sociopath. Rarely do we hear from the perpetrators.

David Jin Lee, 26, is accused of posing as a CIA agent and being married to two women at the same time, one in Norfolk and one in Fairfax City. (Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)
David Jin Lee, 26, is accused of posing as a CIA agent and being married to two women at the same time, one in Norfolk and one in Fairfax City. (Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)

Maybe we will hear from David Jin Lee, but for now he’s in jail outside Williamsburg. And the authorities say he is married to a petty officer stationed in Norfolk, and also married to a woman who lives in Fairfax City, with whom he apparently has a child, according to both the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Fairfax County marriage records. The details would be comical if there weren’t two families who allegedly have been lied to quite extensively, court documents state.

Lee, 26, apparently was first married to a woman who is stationed on the USS Nitze in Norfolk. We don’t know where or when that marriage was performed, and an NCIS spokesman declined to comment Friday. But according to a search warrant affidavit filed in Fairfax County, Lee told his wife that he worked for the CIA and showed her both a gold shield and a CIA identification card, Special Agent Giovan G. Patalano wrote. That is a serious no-no if you don’t actually work for the CIA, and Patalano said he verified that Lee did not.

Next, Lee told his Norfolk wife that he was leaving for China in mid-May on a mission. He did leave on a mission, but it wasn’t to China. On June 2, he e-mailed his first wife and said he’d been “captured and tortured by North Korean agents” and he needed her to wire him $2,000 to secure his release. Mighty nice of his captors to allow him access to his e-mail account. The wife told investigators she doubted the validity of the claim, but did it anyway. And she’d previously wired him $5,000 on earlier “missions,” Patalano wrote.

Ed Hicks, the former Fairfax County man who married too much. Seven marriages, five divorces, one year in jail. (Courtesy Sandra Goldin Hicks)
Ed Hicks, the former Fairfax County man who married too much. Seven marriages, five divorces, two years in jail. (Courtesy Sandra Goldin Hicks)

Well, it turns out that on May 29, perhaps prior to his capture by the North Koreans, Lee reported to Fairfax County police that he’d been robbed, and that he lived on Chancery Park Drive in Fairfax City. On June 6, Patalano reported, the NCIS asked the police to go check on Lee, and he did not appear to be in North Korean custody. Instead, he told the officer he was living there with his wife, child and father-in-law, the affidavit states. Another international incident with North Korea avoided, apparently.

Fairfax court records show that Lee married his second wife last November, listing his home address as Williamsburg, and stating that this was his first marriage. At some point, Lee returned to Williamsburg, and on Wednesday morning, NCIS and Fairfax City investigators searched the Chancery Park Drive home. The search warrant states that a CIA coin and a laminator for creating plastic cards were found.

Lee was arrested later Wednesday at his home in Williamsburg, Fairfax City police said. He was charged with felony bigamy and two counts of forgery in Fairfax, but those are merely local charges. The NCIS indicated in its affidavit they are investigating the charges of impersonating a law enforcement officer and forgery. Those would be federal charges, and would be likely to bring far more prison time than multiple marriages and lying on a marriage license application. So maybe then we’ll get an answer to the question: Why?

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998. In 2011 he launched The State of NoVa blog, a state strictly defined as the boundaries of four counties and one city: Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Alexandria.
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