March 18, 2011 at 4:33 PM ET
It's probably a good idea to unfriend one wife on Facebook before marrying another. Generally speaking, a divorce would also be appropriate.
Such was not the case when Richard Leon Barton married a Grand Rapids, Mich. woman several years after skipping out on his first wife, a Rhode Island resident, according to local news website Michigan Live. Barton had been in and out of prison, and had fled Rhode Island to evade parole, but he still managed to stay "friends" with his first wife, at least on Facebook.
Apparently the Rhode Island wife got suspicious when Barton unfriended her on the social network. She poked around and found wedding photos of Barton and his new wife, linked to other Facebook profiles, such as those of Barton's friends and family members. Duly alarmed, the estranged (but still married) wife called the police, and Barton was charged with polygamy.
According to Michigan Live, the second wife thought Barton was divorced. "She had absolutely no idea what was going on," the site quotes Michigan state police detective Denise Bentley as saying.
Polygamy is not a serious crime, but for a repeat offender, it's certainly bad news.