Man facing bigamy pleads to lesser crime

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A 48-year-old Yampa man charged with bigamy and forgery pleaded guilty to a lesser crime Wednesday and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

On Sept. 3, Daniel Patrick Thomas was arrested on suspicion of bigamy and forgery, felony charges, after a woman in North Dakota claiming to be his wife contacted the Routt County Sheriff's Office and said he was married to another woman.

On Tuesday, Routt County Judge James Garrecht sentenced Thomas to 30 days in the Routt County Jail, a $100 fine and 18 months of unsupervised probation. On Oct. 3, Thomas pleaded guilty to a Class 1 misdemeanor involving use of a false instrument for recording.

Eric Knauss, a deputy in the District Attorney's Office, said the office agreed to the reduced charges in the plea agreement to move the case along in a crowded court system.

Knauss said Thomas is going through divorce proceedings with the wife from North Dakota.

An arrest warrant issued Sept. 2 states Kathy Wither, who later changed her name to Kathy Thomas, of Esmond, N.D., contacted the North Dakota State's Attorney's Office about her husband, Daniel Thomas.

Kathy Thomas said she was married to Daniel Thomas on Oct. 17, 1998, in Arapahoe County and that when he left North Dakota in November 2001, he hadn't filed for divorce.

Kathy Thomas said her husband left after being injured in an industrial accident and moved to Yampa in an "attempt to hide out."

Kathy Thomas said relatives and friends living in Yampa recognized her husband and contacted her, the warrant states. Kathy Thomas' friends obtained marriage licenses and marriage certificates that show Daniel Thomas married Yampa resident Linda Bernal on Sept. 19, 2002.

The Routt County Sheriff's Office said there is proof of the last two marriages and, at the time of Thomas' arrest, no documentation that divorce papers were filed in either.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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