By BOB WHITE
A 28-year-old mother of four who has married at least six men from the four primary branches of the U.S. military this past decade was indicted March 30 by Hardin County grand jurors on felony charges of bigamy and theft by deception.
Abigail Ryan Lewis is just one of four names listed in 9th Circuit Court records on the indictment a grand jury returned last week, but she’s also been known as Shaun Wood, Shaun Lewis, Shauna Marie McDonald, and Shauna Keith.
Most of the aliases used by the Oregon native have stemmed from marriages that she allegedly lured Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors into at military towns spanning the U.S.
According to charges she faces in Hardin County, at least two of those marriages – one involving a Fort Knox Soldier – overlapped.
According to news media nationwide, however, the local case of bigamy is not her first run-in with the law.
“Just Google her name and you can read all about it,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Shaw said.
He said it appears Lewis has made a career out of marrying service men, then taking them for all she could before moving on to another man.
A story reported last year about Lewis’ alleged bigamy in another state received the headline “Six husbands, six empty wallets.”
Her alleged activity also brought national television news media attention, when “Good Morning America” aired an interview with her mother, Cynthia Gibson. Gibson told the show that her daughter suffers from a mental health disability.
So how did she get to Hardin County?
According to police and court records, Lewis was living in Colorado as Shaun Wood while married to her third husband — a military man living in El Paso County, Colo. The area outside Colorado Springs is home to a U.S. Army post, Air Force base, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
It was while in Colorado that she left her third husband after meeting a Soldier named Lucious “Henry” Lewis. She and Lewis moved to Fort Knox and married in the summer of 2006, according to court records.
Radcliff detective David Love learned of the alleged bigamy after talking to a Georgia prosecutor in spring 2008.
Further investigation clued him in to Lewis’ alleged preying on multiple Soldiers.
Within a few months, Love connected the dots to develop a bigamy case against Abigail Ryan McDonald-Wood-Lewis.
A warrant for her arrest was issued in July 2008. It was served to Lewis in Atlanta where she was jailed on crimes relating to her alleged fleecing of a military man there.
It took until January before Lewis was transferred to the Hardin County Detention Center and the bigamy case was formally brought against her in Hardin District Court.
She’s been in Hardin County’s jail since Jan. 19, unable to post the $5,000 bond set on the Class D felony case. Other holders also could be keeping her behind bars.
In addition to the bigamy charge, she’s facing charges of theft by deception for alleged cold check transactions – also a Class D charge.
According to local court records, Lewis has been convicted of cold check felony and misdemeanor crimes several times in Hardin County.
More than one of those cold check convictions resulted in a suspended sentence being probated for two years.
With the alleged bigamy and most recent theft having occurred during that probationary period, prosecutors are seeking to revoke the probated sentences.
Most probatees are subject to revocation even if unproven new criminal allegations are brought against them.
If convicted as charged under indictment, she could face up to 10 years imprisonment. If her probation is revoked, she could serve even longer.
She’ll be arraigned in Hardin Circuit Court within two weeks. Hearings on prosecutors’ motions to revoke her probation also are scheduled for this month.
Lewis’ public defender, Chris McCrary, would not comment about the case.