The two attorneys were seated at their tables. The judge sat on the dais.
Everything was set to proceed in the case of a former Frederick man charged with fraud, financial abuse of an elder and identity theft.
All that was missing in the Berkeley County, West Virginia, courtroom was the defendant, Curtis Robert Williamson.
Williamson failed to appear for a scheduled arraignment hearing on charges of financial exploitation of an elderly person, felony fraudulent scheme, identity theft, and fraudulent and related activity in connection with access devices after a grand jury indicted him on May 29. Williamson was the subject of a five-part News-Post investigation that examined how he married women, then allegedly declared two of them deceased and conned them, and in some cases, their families, out of thousands of dollars.
Prosecuting attorney John Lehman said at the hearing that Williamson might be in Maryland. Berkeley County prosecutors sent a strongly worded invitation for Williamson, Lehman told presiding judge Michael Lorensen.
Williamson’s attorney, Patrick Kratovil, spoke with Williamson this week by phone, he said at the hearing. Kratovil said that Williamson was hospitalized for an anxiety attack after his last hearing.
Kratovil did not have medical documents showing that Williamson was hospitalized. In previous court hearings, Williamson or his attorney reported that Williamson could not attend because of hospitalizations, including for leukemia. There is no proof that Williamson has leukemia, according to previous News-Post reporting.
Williamson currently has an open bench warrant in Frederick County for failing to appear for a contempt hearing in a divorce case with his third wife, Monica Gabriel. The judge, in that case, ordered Williamson to show proof of medical issues. The warrant has not yet been served on Williamson.
Lorensen issued a bench warrant for Williamson but told Kratovil, Williamson’s attorney, that Williamson still had time to appear in court.
“If he makes us extradite him, it’s just going to be a slog,” Lorensen said.
Williamson’s failure to appear came as little surprise to those working on the case and one of his alleged victims. Stephanie Furr, Williamson’s former wife, his fifth, said in an email she did not expect him to show up but hopes that he will be found and arrested.
“When is this going to stop! We’ve been through enough,” she said in an email Wednesday. “I have two children, one is his biological son, and how can we move forward. ... It’s taking everything I have to stay strong for my babies. It’s time justice is served!”
Williamson and Furr were arrested on May 31 after Williamson allegedly abused Furr’s grandmother’s bank account and credit cards. Charges against Furr were dropped after prosecutors determined she was a victim.
Williamson and Furr married on Dec. 20, 2013, in Winchester, Virginia, although Furr said she knew him as Kurt Williams at the time. Furr hired David McLaughlin, a marriage commissioner, to perform the ceremony. McLaughlin said he has married thousands of couples. Nothing stood out about the wedding of Furr and Williamson.
“I don’t really recall doing the wedding,” McLaughlin said. “It was so long ago.”
McLaughlin pulled the marriage certificate at a Virginia courthouse. The marriage certificate lists Williamson’s real full name and his birth date, Jan. 2, 1966. Williamson told Furr he was born Jan. 1, 1973.
Williamson said he had more than five years of college on the marriage certificate, although it could not be confirmed that he attended college, according to previous News-Post reporting. He also did not list himself as divorced, although he had been divorced at least twice before marrying Furr.
In Winchester, court officials do not ask for proof of divorce, McLaughlin said. Those getting married simply swear that they are not currently married.
“So anybody can basically go down and lie,” he said.