Tamara K. Menke enters the Van Wert County Common Pleas Court for her arraignment on Dec. 9, 2013, after being charged with shooting and killing her mother in a November incident. In a hearing on Friday, March 21, Menke was found competent to stand trial. (TB File Photo)
Tamara K. Menke enters the Van Wert County Common Pleas Court for her arraignment on Dec. 9, 2013, after being charged with shooting and killing her mother in a November incident. In a hearing on Friday, March 21, Menke was found competent to stand trial. (TB File Photo)

VAN WERT - A woman charged with shooting and killing her mother last year in Van Wert has been found competent to stand trial.

Tamara K. Menke, 48, of Ohio City, appeared before Judge Charles Steele in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Friday, March 21, for a competency hearing. Judge Steele ruled Menke able to proceed and set a final pretrial for April 16. The trial is set to begin on May 12.

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.



Menke is accused of shooting her mother, Barbara Robinson, and causing her death on November 14, 2013. Robinson died en route to a hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds. Menke’s father was also injured in the incident, but not fatally. The couple was shot with a rifle in their Fulton St. home in Van Wert.

When Van Wert City police arrived at the house, the shooter had already left the area but Menke’s name was given to officers. A search began for the suspect, centering on a Brittsan Road property, but also including other properties as far west as the state line. The search continued until late in the evening but she was not located.

When law enforcement resumed the search the next morning, Menke was spotted near one of the buildings on her property. She was apprehended just before 10 a.m. in a barn on her property on Brittsan Road.