In less than a year, Custalow has been arrested three times on felony charges of bigamy — in Chesterfield, Henrico County and Virginia Beach — as authorities unraveled a tangle of marriages to women who in most cases were much younger than he.
Custalow's Sept. 20, 2010, indictment in Chesterfield led to similar charges on July 26 in Virginia Beach and then on Sept. 12 in Henrico Countyh, his latest charge. He pleaded guilty April 12 to the Chesterfield offense and was set to be sentenced Wednesday but failed to show up because of an apparent medical problem.
One of his four wives committed suicide last year — about a year after Custalow married her — and left behind a note about how he had mistreated her, prosecutors say.
With marriages to four women at once, Custalow is the area's most prolific accused bigamist since a former Richmond man was arrested nearly 20 years ago after leaving behind a trail of jilted wives in Virginia and at least three other states.
In that case, the man's Richmond wife learned of his other wives after they appeared together on a nationally syndicated television program in November 1991. Jerry Wayne Montgomery, a Kentucky native who worked as a mechanic, was arrested four months later.
Unlike that earlier case, Custalow apparently didn't dupe his many wives for financial gain — he just left them when the marriage soured and didn't bother divorcing before marrying again, authorities said.
"Every time he married somebody, he was still married previously to one or more people," said Macie Pridgen, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's Office. "A lot of times with these marriages they just fizzle out, and they don't officially divorce and later get married again."
A few weeks after the couple married, Denton received a call from Chesterfield Police who advised her that her marriage was invalid because he was still married to a Chesterfield woman, Pridgen said.
"I talked to him, and he didn't tell me it was four times — he said it was three times. But one of them had died last year."
When Nassar said she pressed Custalow about why he got married so many times without getting a divorce, he didn't explain why. But he offered: "I'm going to get this taken care of."
Nassar said her daughter met Custalow when she was in Richmond visiting friends.
"My daughter just fell for him," she said. "She didn't know that he was married" three times before.
Nassar said her daughter and Custalow separated for about a month after Denton learned of his other marriages, but they eventually got back together again. "And now he's up there living with her again," Nassar said. "It's unbelievable."
A message left for Denton at her Virginia Beach workplace was not returned. Custalow, who has been released on bond, couldn't be located for comment. His attorney in the Chesterfield case, Russell Bowles, declined to talk about the matter.
According to copies of Custalow's marriage certificates in his court file in Chesterfield, he first married a Midlothian woman in Chesapeake on Oct. 16, 2000. While still married to her, Custalow exchanged vows with a Chesterfield woman in Henrico on July 17, 2008. Just over a year later, Custalow married a third woman, from Colonial Heights, in a civil ceremony in Hopewell on July 22, 2009.
Less than two years later, he married Nassar's daughter in Virginia Beach.
Chesterfield prosecutor, B.J. McGee said Custalow was married a fifth time — in the late 1990s — but that marriage ended in a legal divorce.
Custalow is now set to be sentenced Nov. 28 in Chesterfield Circuit Court. State sentencing guidelines included in his case file call for a minimum prison term of 10 months and a maximum of two years and 10 months.
His trial in Henrico is set for Dec. 1. He is scheduled to appear Dec. 6 in Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court om the case involving Denton.
He has been charged with more than a dozen crimes in Chesterfield over the past three years, offenses that include petty larceny, possession of controlled substances, breaking and entering, stalking, assault and prescription fraud. But the majority of those charges were eventually withdrawn. He was found guilty only of assault, aside from his recent bigamy conviction.
Bigamy is a Class 4 felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
By Mark Bowes of The Richmond Times Dispatch.