By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – Prosecutors have charged a 44-year-old woman with bigamy, claiming she married a man in Lewis County when she already had two husbands.
Carrie R. Justus has pleaded not guilty in Lewis County Superior Court.
Elected Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said he’s never seen a case of bigamy locally in his career, except for a civil suit once involving a woman who was surprised to learn she was not divorced.
Justus was in court with her attorney on Thursday, after being summonsed to appear.
“Law enforcement was contacted by one of her quote, unquote husbands,” Meyer said.
According to charging documents, Steven Felix who is serving time in a Washington prison, informed a detective at the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office he’d been told by his wife, Justus, that at the time they were married she was still married to another man.
Felix learned of this during an argument with Justus, according to charging documents.
The two married in August 2007, yet in July 1999, Justus was wed to Timothy Justus and never divorced, prosecutors allege.
Timothy Justus is serving time in the North Carolina prison system, according to charging documents.
Sheriff’s detective Sgt. Dusty Breen uncovered that she married once even before that, to Eric Mencer in February 1990, according to the allegations.
No court records have been discovered terminating or annulling the marriages, prosecutors wrote.
Carrie Justus claims the first was not a valid marriage, according to the documents.
Bigamy is a class C felony, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison.
Justus, who said she is from Chehalis and Centralia, and now lives in Shelton, said she hasn’t lived in Lewis County for 10 years, and didn’t marry Felix in Lewis County.
“I married Steven Felix in 2007 in Reno, Nevada,” she said.
She had little further comment on the matter, saying she wanted to check with her lawyer first.
Justus’s trial is set for the end of April. She is out of custody on a $5,000 signature bond.