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Alleged Bigamist Arrested; Posed as Joe Montana, Musician

March 20, 1986

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A man who married two women this year while posing as Joe Montana and a member of the Hank Williams Jr. band has been arrested on fraud charges after nearly marrying a third time, authorities said.

John Robert Ford was being held Wednesday on fraud charges stemming from his relationship with the third woman, Arlene Sumner, who alleges Ford ran up a $1,100 bill on her telephone, charged a $3,000 party to her credit card and conned her out of $7,000 in various expenses.

Ford, 39, was arrested on a charge of obtaining money from Ms. Sumner under false pretenses. The charges were sent to the Davidson County grand jury Wednesday following a hearing in General Sessions Court at which Ford’s bond was set at $500.

Since meeting Ms. Sumner, 43, last December, Ford had married two other women - Pam Jones, 26, of Lexington, Ky., while posing as football star Montana, and Marilyn Hagaman Ford, 36, of Knoxville, after telling her he was a keyboard player with Williams’s band, said assistant prosector James Walsh. They are seeking to annul their marriages.

″The evidence clearly shows a mindset of someone determined to defraud,″ Walsh said. ″The problem with Arlene Sumner is that she loved not wisely, but too well.″

Ms. Sumner, a nursing instructor, testified that Ford initially showered her with gifts and trips to expensive restaurants and nightspots.

″He had a white stretch limo with a driver, his own bodyguard and lots of money,″ she said.

But after 18 days of spending approximately $20,000 with Ms. Sumner, his money disappeared and he allegedly began borrowing from her.

Ms. Jones said she met Ford at a party he threw at a Lexington hotel. Ms. Sumner said it was that party that Ford paid for with her credit card.

″We all love him - all three of us,″ Ms. Jones said. ″Even though he destroyed my life, I love him today.″

″But he’s going to pay for what he did to us,″ Ms. Sumner added.

Ford told authorities he was from Williamson, W.Va., said JoAnn Foster, of the Metro Nashville sheriff department’s records office.

″But I wouldn’t believe anything that man says,″ said Ms. Foster.

Ms. Jones, who on March 3 married the man she thought was the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, said she has filed court action to have the marriage declared invalid. She said she would consider other charges against him.

Mrs. Ford said the man she married didn’t pose as a football player, but he did tell her he was the keyboard player in Williams’ band.

″Anybody who would do what he’s done is sick, he really is,″ Mrs. Ford said. She said she met Ford in a Nashville nightclub Dec. 13 and married him Jan. 14 in a North Carolina church.

When Ford called Ms. Sumner from Daytona Beach, Fla., last week to ask for money for a plane ticket to see her, she sent him $300 and then had him arrested when he arrived Sunday at her Nashville apartment.

Update hourly