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Two Winery Owners Slain In Tennessee

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#1 cd_spradlin



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  • Location:Morgan County (east) Tennessee

Posted 30 December 2004 - 08:32 PM

Most wine talk is cheerful, I don't mean to bring anyone down, but the owners of two separate wineries were murdered about 3 years ago. Unfortunately, sometimes there's a grim side. sad.gif BTW, I met Patty Striker, and they make some darn good wine still down Details:

$5.5 million wrongful death suit filed against husband of slaying victim

ATHENS, Tenn. (AP) -- The husband of a slain winery owner is facing a $5.5 million wrongful death lawsuit from his stepson.

The suit in McMinn County Circuit Court by 21-year-old Donnie Morrow accuses Stanley Striker of either killing his wife, Patty Striker, or directing the murder.

Stanley Striker has never been charged in the slaying. Authorities say the slaying in April 1999 is an open case still under investigation.

Striker said Thursday he hasn't seen the suit and had no comment other than saying he does not understand some of the legal language in the complaint. He previously has denied any wrongdoing in his wife's death.

The body of 35-year-old Patty Striker was found at the couple's Athens' winery, the victim of an apparent robbery. She had been shot once in the head, and money was found scattered throughout the building.

Sheriff's detectives have never found the murder weapon or the winery's cash register, which was stolen.

Morrow, Patty Striker's oldest son by a previous marriage, seeks $5 million for wrongful death and an additional $500,000 for loss of consortium with his mother.

The suit alleges that the "defendant by conspiracy, design or action, proximately and/or intentionally caused the wrongful death of Patty Striker, by murder, as a result of gunshot wounds inflicted upon Patty Striker, either by or at the direction of the defendant, Stanley Striker."

Detectives have said Stanley Striker was working at the Bowater Southern plant in Calhoun, Tenn., when the shooting occurred. He was questioned and released by authorities after the shooting.

Patty Striker is believed to have been shot after taking her three children to school.

The couple opened the winery in 1996 next to their home.

The lawsuit asks for a jury trial. Stanley Striker has until May 20 to respond in court.

A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.

Patty Striker was the second Tennessee winery owner fatally shot in 1999 during an apparent robbery. Two months earlier, Monteagle Wine Cellars owner Joe Marlow was shot twice with a large-caliber handgun in the yard of his Coffee County home. No one has been arrested.
Children of slain winery owner sue their accused mother

by Bill Poovey
Associated Press

MANCHESTER, Tenn. (AP) -- Louise Marlow, already charged in the slaying of her husband, Monteagle winery owner Joe Marlow, has now been named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by two of the couple's children.

The lawsuit, which seeks damages totaling $6 million, contends Louise Marlow "paid, hired and instructed" former winery employee Roger Wimley to kill their father.

A Coffee County judge Tuesday set a July 8 trial for Louise Marlow, 73, and Wimley, who are both charged with first-degree murder in the Feb. 5, 2000 killing. The two will be tried together.

Joe Marlow, 75, who owned Monteagle Wine Cellars off Interstate 24 between Chattanooga and Nashville, was shot in the head and arm as he carried a money bag from his car to his Coffee County home.

The money bag and thousands of dollars in his pocket were not taken. Deputies arrived to find Louise Marlow cradling her husband's head in her lap. She told them she was cooking supper when she heard the shots.

Louise Marlow, who is free on a $500,000 bond, attended the hearing Tuesday, as did Wimley, 33, who is jailed on a $300,000 bond.

Wimley's wife, Lori, who is charged as an accessory in the case, also attended the hearing. None of the defendants spoke.

Circuit Judge Craig Johnson set an April 30 deadline for pretrial motions.

Records show Joe Howard Marlow Jr. of Hillsboro and Rebecca Stevens of Crossville, two of the Marlows' four children, sued their mother and the Wimleys on Dec. 5. Their lawyer, Timothy Priest of Winchester, declined comment Tuesday.

Louise Marlow's attorney, Robert Carter of Tullahoma, said she had wanted a trial as quickly as possible. The judge's planned military activation in April was a factor in delaying the trial to July.

Carter declined comment about the wrongful death lawsuit.

District Attorney C. Michael Lane declined comment about the murder case or the lawsuit. He said there is no reason Louise Marlow couldn't get a fair trial in Coffee County, despite extensive publicity.

Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves has said investigators believe the motive behind Marlow's shooting was greed.

He declined to elaborate except to say that Joe Marlow was a well-known local businessman who owned farmland and other properties worth at least $2 million.

Graves described Wimley as the killer. He said Wimley's wife helped him dispose of the pistol, which investigators have not found.

Monteagle Wine Cellars, one of Monteagle Mountain's biggest tourist attractions, opened in 1985. In October, eight months after Marlow was killed, the winery was heavily damaged by an arson fire.

A federal grand jury in Chattanooga has indicted Anthony A. Campbell, 53, and Robert Earl Campbell, 35, both of Tracy City, and Howard Neil Givens, 51, of Crossville, on charges of conspiring to commit arson and aiding and abetting the commission of arson in Grundy County.

The indictment said the fire was intended to destroy the Monteagle winery so insurance could be collected.

The fire, which was set Oct. 29, 2000, caused $400,000 worth of damage.

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