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Menke considering insanity plea in shooting PDF Print E-mail
Monday, December 09, 2013 9:00 PM


Times Bulletin Editor

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VAN WERT — According to her lawyer, Tamara K. Menke is considering a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Menke was ordered held on a $1 million cash bond on Monday at her arraignment hearing in Van Wert County Court of Common Pleas. She is accused of shooting her mother to death and also shooting her father in a family dispute Nov. 14.


She did not enter a plea to the charges she is facing, as attorney Scott Gordon notified the court that he wishes to have a competency evaluation for his client to determine her mental condition at the time of the shootings.


Wearing an orange prison outfit, the 47-year-old Menke said little Monday morning, exchanging only a few whispered words with her attorney. She was advised of five felony counts against her.

Menke is charged with aggravated murder, which is punishable by life in prison without parole or with the possibility of parole in 20, 25 or 30 years. The other four charges are: attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 11 years in prison and a $20,000 fine; felonious assault, a second-degree felony punishable by up to eight years in prison and a $15,000 fine; aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 11 years in prison and a $20,000 fine; and burglary, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 36 months in prison and a fine of $10,000.

Each of the five counts has a specification attached that she used a firearm in the commission of the crimes. The specifications would add one more year in prison for each count.

With no plea being entered by Menke, the court entered a not guilty plea on her behalf. Her next appearance in court was scheduled for Dec. 23 when a pretrial hearing in the case will be held.

Menke is accused of shooting Barbara Robinson and causing her death. Robinson died en route to a hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds. Menke’s father was also shot in the incident but not fatally. The couple was shot with a rifle in their Fulton Street home in Van Wert.

Also on Monday, a Van Wert man entered guilty pleas to all 13 counts filed against him. Paul Susralski, who was scheduled to have his case heard at trial later this week, admitted his guilt in the charges involving child pornography.

Susralski pleaded guilty to eight counts of pandering obscenity involving minors, each a felony of the second degree, four counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented materials or performance, also second-degree felony charges, and one count of possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony. The pleas would make Susralski eligible for a prison term of up to 97 years. He will be sentenced on Feb. 5, 2014.

Susralski was arrested in June after Van Wert Police and agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Identification served a search warrant at his Blaine Street home in Van Wert. Investigators had identified the house as a location where child pornography had been downloaded on a computer.

Last Updated on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 9:18 PM

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