A man charged with felony bigamy in Fairfax County waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday and now faces possible indictment by a Fairfax grand jury this month.
Court records indicate that Charles Edward "Ed" Hicks, 61, has been married seven times and is currently married to two women: one living in Fairfax, the other in Utah. He was arrested May 25 and charged with bigamy, which in Virginia carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison, although that is rarely imposed in Fairfax.
Until yesterday, Hicks had not seen his seventh wife, Sandra Goldin Hicks, since she tossed him out of their townhouse in the Hybla Valley area April 13. It was then, Sandra Hicks said, that she learned he had been married multiple times, that their tax refund for last year had been redirected to one of his prior joint returns and that he was trying to meet women on the Internet.
Sandra Hicks appeared slightly emotional as she sat several feet from the man she married two years ago. Sitting there, she said she realized "that my life with him is just based on lies."
Hicks said little during his brief appearance before Fairfax Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Kimberly J. Daniel. He said he understood that he was entitled to hear the prosecution's evidence against him, which would have to show probable cause that he committed a crime. But he said he was willing to bypass the hearing.
Hicks declined to comment afterward. His attorney, Richard S. Simpson, said, "We're going to defend this staunchly and set the record straight."
Hicks works for the Army Publishing Directorate at the Hoffman Building in Alexandria. He married his first wife 40 years ago in California, records show, and has three children, including one he has not spoken to in 20 years.
Three of Hicks's marriages took place while he was legally married to someone else, according to court documents. Most recently, he married Julie Flint in California in April 1997 and Sandra Goldin in May 2003. He is still married to both. Julie Flint Hicks lives in Utah.
The Fairfax bigamy case was sent to the grand jury in circuit court, which next meets July 18.
Although felony bigamy cases carry a penalty of two to 10 years in Virginia, not even the minimum sentence has been handed down in Fairfax since 1979, court records show. Not including Hicks, Fairfax police have arrested six people since 2002 for bigamy. Charges were dismissed in domestic relations court against two of them, and another was dismissed on appeal.
Two other men were allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor bigamy: One was given a six-month suspended sentence and a $50 fine, and the other received a four-month suspended sentence and a $250 fine.
The one case that made it to Circuit Court resulted in a guilty plea in 2002 and a one-year jail term. Since 1979, eight cases, all against men, have reached Fairfax circuit court, statistics show. Two were dismissed there; three received suspended sentences and three were ordered incarcerated -- two for one year each and one for 18 months, records show.
"It's rather difficult to get the judiciary excited about them," Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. said of bigamy cases. "I think it's because sometimes you get judges who think the woman is better off, she has rid herself of the problem. I think they see the seriousness of it, but most of them wonder what good incarceration's going to do."