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Bigamist cleared by statute of limitations

April 7, 2013 at 3:13 PM   |   Comments

FORT WORTH, Texas, April 7 (UPI) -- Officials in Texas said they can't charge a flight instructor who was married to two women at the same time with bigamy due to the statute of limitations.

Germaine Gardea, 38, of Grand Prairie, Texas, told his second wife, Leslie Gardea, he'd been divorced since 2009. Court records show he filed for divorce from his first wife, Jennifer Saldivar, the same day he married his second wife, but the paperwork was never finalized because Germain Gardea and Saldivar agreed to reconcile.

For 2 1/2 years, Germaine Gardea kept both wives in the dark about each other, spending weekdays with Saldivar and their son, and weekends with Leslie Gardea, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Leslie Gardea confronted Saldivar in May when she discovered her husband was still paying his first wife's bills. Saldivar immediately filed for divorce, but waited until September to notify authorities of her husband's actions.

Fort Worth police arrested Germaine Gardea Oct. 11 on a bigamy warrant, but by then the statute of limitations on bigamy had run out. The clock starts ticking on the crime on the day of the second marriage, not the day it is discovered, the newspaper reported.

"When it became clear that there was an issue with the statute of limitations on the bigamy charge, prosecutors worked diligently to find alternate charges to support the allegations," said Melody McDonald, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

"The case was subsequently presented to a grand jury on Dec. 20. The grand jury heard the evidence and the circumstances but ultimately made a decision not to indict."

Germaine Gardea was ordered to pay $6,000 for his first wife's divorce costs, child support and counseling sessions for his son, the newspaper said. Germaine and Leslie Gardea's marriage was made legal upon his divorce from his first wife.

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