WACO, Texas – A man who tied the knot with his girlfriend in Las Vegas before divorcing his estranged wife was surprised when he was charged with bigamy, saying he didn't think it "was going to be a real marriage."
James Byron Montgomery faces up to 10 years in prison after being indicted Wednesday. He remained free on bond Thursday.
"I used to drive a truck, and me and my fiancee, Tiffiney, were in Vegas and we just, like, got a wild hair," Montgomery told the Waco Tribune-Herald for a story in Thursday editions. "We knew it was against the law. We just really didn't feel married. We just, like, did it. I didn't really think it was going to be a real marriage."
But authorities knew differently. Montgomery, 53, of Moody, was arrested earlier this year after McLennan County deputies got a call from his third wife, who found out about the May 2007 nuptials, according to court documents.
Montgomery said he filed for divorce that same month — although it's unclear if it was before or after the ceremony at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Vegas. He said he had been separated from his third wife about four months.
"I wish they would go after real criminals instead of people who fall in love," Montgomery said. "I know what I did wasn't right. But when me and Tiffiney met, I had never loved anybody in my entire life the way I love her. You can't find love every day like this. She is a wonderful woman."
Montgomery said he has been unemployed for five months and cannot afford to hire a lawyer. But he could not explain why he did not wait until he was divorced before marrying yet again.
"I wouldn't change nothing," he said.