ATLANTA (AP) - A traveling minister who served two years in prison on bigamy charges has been jailed again after at least four women said he proposed to them.
Officials also say there is no evidence that Bishop Anthony Owens, 35, divorced the eight wives he had married before going to prison.
A judge will decide whether Owens should go back to prison. Owens, who turned himself into the Gwinnett County jail April 30, declined to be interviewed. But his new fiancees aren't keeping quiet. Betty Dixon, 38, met him last March in a casino near Memphis. "He was a slick talker," the nurse said. "He told me God had sent him to me and I needed help."
Nurse Cheryl Selmon, 48, says Owens proposed to her last October. A month later, he proposed to Darlene Keeler, 42, a manager of a gospel group. Then he met 43-year-old Karen Ward, a mother of two young children, and proposed to her.
"He said God gave him a message that he was going to move my family to California for a better life," Ward said. "I gave up my apartment. I took my children out of school. He said he is a real man of the Lord. But he is just a mess. I hate the day that I met him." According to police reports, Owens' first marriage was in 1990 in Memphis, Tenn., Owens' birthplace.
At the age of 18, he married 43-year-old Joanna Hill. He said the marriage was troubled from the start and that a misunderstanding of Mormon teachings led him to marry 41-year-old Earleen Mabien in 1992, even though he was still married to his first wife.
After Earleen, Owens married six other women from 1995 to 2002 in South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. The last of those wives learned about the others and called police. Owens has said he did divorce some of the wives, but he can't remember which ones.