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Murder suspect’s husband speaks out about tragedy PDF Print E-mail
Friday, November 15, 2013 9:19 PM


DHI Correspondent

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MIDDLEBURY — Pouring water from a bucket into a horse trough at his Brittsan Road home Friday afternoon, Mike Menke says it’s the first time he’s been on the property since his wife, Tammy, was arrested for murder earlier that day.

Two horses eagerly eat hay as dozens of chickens and turkeys clatter around him as he retrieves water from a spigot located next to the barn where his wife was discovered hiding in the rafters by law enforcement at about 10 a.m. Friday.

For Menke, 62, and his two teenage daughters, coping with the tragedy is not something his family is prepared to face.


“Our lives are ruined, she ruined our lives,” he said, describing the increased traffic on his rural road as people slow to look at his home. “I probably can’t even afford these horses anymore. Now we have to put up with it the rest of our lives and go through a trial and all that now… My whole life is shot; I don’t know what to do. I’ve never dealt with murder before. I never thought she would do this.”

Tammy has struggled with depression for the past decade, he noted, although he always held out hope she might get better.

She attempted treatment at Westwood Behavioral Center but Tammy couldn’t seem to find a way to cope with multiple problems in her past, he said.

Attempting to create meaning for the situation for himself and daughters, Mike said his wife hated her mother, Barbara Robinson, who never really recognized Tammy as a legitimate daughter.

Shortly after Tammy was born in 1966, her mom and dad, John Robinson, divorced. Her mom married another man and moved to Alabama and had three children while her dad joined the military. Tammy was left alone to be raised by her grandmother inside the same Fulton Street home where she is accused of killing her mother.

Her mother and father were later reunited, married and settled in the house where Tammy grew up.

The morning of the shooting on Thursday, Tammy learned that her 22-year-old brother, Darren Benroth, committed suicide in Alabama and was kicked out of the Robinson home, Mike explained.

“Her brother committed suicide,” he said, noting that was the final tipping point that made his wife snap.

Tammy had met her brother one other time when she was 7 years old, and was reunited with him at the age of 47. Her younger brother had stayed at the Menke household for two weeks and helped Mike rework the garage. Unable to find a job in Van Wert and not wanting to live off his sister’s family for too long, her brother moved into the Robinson household after two weeks in the Menke home.

Soon after, he was told to leave, Mike explained. “When her brother committed suicide, she lashed out at her parents,” he said, adding that his wife called him Thursday when she first learned about her brother’s death.

“Her mom called and told her but didn’t make a big deal out of it, saying ‘Oh, he was suicidal,’ and it just drove Tammy beserk,” he said. “She lashed out at her parents. She got really drunk, called me, then she started crying… She started hanging up on me. My girl called me and I said just let her calm down, she’ll drink and just pass out. She goes ‘No dad, I think she’s going to do it, she’s going to get her gun'.”

Mike was in Indiana delivering a load of sand for his dump truck business at the time, but hurried to get home as fast as he could. He made it home around 7:15 p.m., 10 minutes after Tammy arrived home after the shooting at her parents' home.

“I came up to the door and was just going to the house and she seen me. She already told the girls she shot her parents. I think she was just trying to shoot her mom and her dad jumped in front of her and got shot in the hip,” Mike said.

Gretchen Gregory is originally from Convoy and is the editor of The Logan Daily News in southeastern Ohio.

Last Updated on Friday, November 15, 2013 9:23 PM

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