Police: Woman Faces Felony Polygamy Trial

Roseville, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit woman who police say made a habit of marrying men and draining their finances was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on polygamy charges.

Douglas Rice, one of the husbands, said he met Kyle McConnell on the Internet last summer and married her Sept. 23 in a civil ceremony. According to police, she had a trail of as many as 15 husbands in her past.

“She told me she only had been married once, but I found out I was only one sucker in a bunch,” Rice said.

McConnell, 46, was sentenced in April to 22 months to 10 years in prison for trying to defraud another husband, Richard McConnell. Prosecutors said she passed bad checks written to Richard McConnell and his family that were drawn on the bank account of yet another man she married at some point, Len Battaglia.

“We don’t know exactly how many men she has conned, but she has a talent for finding lonely men, marrying them, and stealing their money,” St. Clair County sheriff’s Detective Tim Donnellon told The Detroit News. “By the time these poor guys would find out what was happening, she would split and move on to the next guy.”

Defense lawyer Robert McClellan said, “There are two sides to every story.” He said he was “disappointed that the prosecutors are trying the case in the press.”

It’s an unusual case, and there’s a lot of information still being uncovered, said Macomb County assistant prosecutor Therese Tobin.

“In polygamy cases, usually it’s a man who is married to more than one woman,” Tobin said. “In my 12 years here, I don’t remember there being a case involving a female polygamist. I haven’t even heard of such a case.”

McConnell is charged with wedding one man when she was already married to at least one. A felony polygamy charge carries a maximum of four years in prison.

Donnellon said he estimates McConnell has had about 15 husbands because of the number of names she used. The Michigan Department of Corrections’ Web site lists 14 aliases, although some of them appear to be variations of the same name.

Donnellon said McConnell also took money from men she lived with but did not marry. He said most of the victims St. Clair County officials know about are from Michigan, but at least one lives in Ohio.

“A lot of times these things aren’t reported,” he said. “People are embarrassed … so it’s hard to get hard numbers.”

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AP, via SFGate.com, USA
May 3, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday May 4, 2006.
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