Standing handcuffed, in blue jail overalls, bigamy suspect John Elsworth Weaver waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Davis County Circuit Court Wednesday and was bound over to 2nd District Court.
Weaver will appear before Judge Rodney Page for arraignment June 11.Prosecutors have charged the 54-year-old Layton man with three counts of bigamy for allegedly marrying a California woman in 1986, with whom he had two children, and marrying and divorcing three Utah women without bothering to divorce the first one.
Two of the subsequent marriages allegedly also overlapped by a month.
Weaver has also been charged with communications fraud, false affidavit, false use of a military medal and rape. He allegedly told his wives he was an Army colonel, using that to excuse his long absences while he sought other conquests.
Prosecutors say Weaver married all those women in order to get their money and sexual favors.
The rape charge stems from the last wife, who says her sexual intercourse with Weaver was without her consent, since she would not have done it had she known Weaver married her under false pretenses.
Weaver's court-appointed defense attorney, Glen Cella, didn't argue the fact that Weaver was still married to the first woman during his later romantic entanglements. Nevertheless, he cited Weaver's assertion that he had signed divorce papers in California and was led to believe the woman had filed them.
Bigamy in Utah requires that the accused know he has another wife. If Weaver's assertion pans out, that would take care of two of the three bigamy charges, putting him in position for a favorable plea-bargain.
"There's a possibility it will be resolved in June if a couple of things fall into place," Cella said.
But Gary Peterson, an investigator in the Davis County attorney's office, says Weaver's argument is hogwash. "The information given to me shows the marriage is intact," he said.
Peterson said the case is important for prosecutors, given Weaver's alleged violation of so many women's trust, the misuse of U.S. military insignia and general high-profile deceit.
"We don't take it personally, but we certainly take it professionally that this can't go on," he said.
A few of Weaver's alleged victims were present in the courtroom Wednesday, glaring at him as police escorted him in.
Weaver is a seasoned groom even without the overlapping marriages: According to his attorney, Weaver has entered into marriage vows with at least nine women.