Sentencing reveals motive for woman who killed her mother

Tamera Menke walks into the courtroom to hear her sentence on Friday.
Tamera Menke cries in court.
Tamera Menke cries in court.

VAN WERT, Ohio (WANE) – A woman was sentenced to 20 years to life on Friday for shooting and killing her mother and shooting her father.

Tamara Menke pleaded guilty to murder and felonious assault on May 5 as part of a plea agreement.

Police found Menke’s mother and father, both with gunshot wounds, inside a home in November. Menke’s mother, Barbara Robinson, died on the way to the hospital. The father recovered.

Menke was arrested for the double-shooting the next day.

NewsChannel 15’s Megan Reust was in the Van Wert courtroom on Friday.

Menke initially seemed almost void of emotion but broke down in tears when a letter she got from her mom when she was 14 was read out loud.

Menke’s attorney called up a chaplain who was close to Menke to testify. He spoke about her tragic home life and a mother who wanted nothing to do with her. He said it had been that way since the day she was born, when she was left on her grandmother’s porch.

“I had the letter that I shared in court today with the judge that was written by her mother when Tammy was 14-years-old,” Chaplain Chuck Eberle said. “It said, ‘I don’t want anything to do with you.  Get a life and grow up.’

Eberle said last fall, Menke’s brother committed suicide and she wanted to talk with her mother about it the night of the fatal shooting.

“She went there with the intent of confronting her mother. When the mother said about the brother who had just committed suicide ‘Oh well. He’s better off dead.’ I think that was just the dynamite that lit the fuse.”

Her father, who was in the courtroom for her sentencing, had someone read his victim impact statement.  In it, he talked about looking forward to traveling with his wife.  Now that she’s dead, he’ll never get the opportunity to.

Menke apologized to the judge for what she did, and said goodbye to her husband, junior high and high school-aged children, and friends who were at the courthouse.

Menke has 30 days to appeal the sentence.  No word from her attorney whether she will do that or not.


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