Prison Guard’s Widows Fight Over Death Benefits

An Ohio woman was greeted with a shocking revelation about her late husband when she applied for survivor’s benefits.

Julia Ann Hesson’s husband, William, was killed by an inmate in a Cleveland-area juvenile correctional facility where he worked as a guard.  The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Office rejected Hesson’s claim on the ground that a Florida woman was entitled to collect the benefit award, which was in excess of $150,000.

That other woman was Julie Keady Hesson of St. Petersburg.  William Lynn Hesson married Julie Keady in 1995 and four years later, the couple split up.  Keady tried to divorce Hesson, but she was never able to serve him with the papers.  In 2004, Hesson married Julia Ann Bernhardt, with whom he had two children.

The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Office held that Hesson was still legally married to Keady at the time of his death.  Bernhardt was an unwitting party to a bigamous marriage.

Source: St. Petersburg Times, “Two widows with the same husband fight legal battle in Pinellas over survivor’s benefits,” Kameel Stanley, August 9, 2011

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>