Two dead in Berlinville

BERLIN TWP. Late Friday night, Tom Jensen said he killed his wife, Melanie. And as la
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

BERLIN TWP.

Late Friday night, Tom Jensen said he killed his wife, Melanie.

And as law enforcement officers found Melanie Jensen's body and tried to negotiate with Jensen at his home at 5903 Ohio 113, he vowed to not surrender.

"He called me," said Gale Dauch, who had employed Jensen and was a father figure to him. "He told me he shot his wife. She was dead."

Law officers were notified of the shooting at about 7 p.m. They found Melanie Jensen dead in the house and, after a search, found Tom Jensen barricaded inside a workshop or garage in the rear of the house, said Erie County Sheriff's Capt. Paul Sigsworth.

That began more than four hours of negotiations, during which Jensen. holding a handgun to his head, was alternately calm and at other times agitated, making it clear he would not give up, Sigsworth said.

The standoff ended at 11:14 p.m. when a shot was heard and at least one deputy saw Jensen shoot himself, Sigsworth said.

Deputies found a .357 Magnum handgun next to Jensen's body. They assume he used the same gun to kill himself and his wife, Sigsworth said.

Dauch said Jensen called him at about 8:30 p.m.

"He said he wasn't giving himself up," Dauch said. "He said, 'They'll come get me in a body bag.'"

Jensen was about 40 and is a maintenance worker at CertainTeed, Dauch said.

Jensen and his wife have three daughters, who are believed to be safe.

"He wouldn't hurt the girls," Dauch said.

"This is so unlike him. He said, 'I snapped. I couldn't help myself.'"

Dauch, hoping to be able to talk to Jensen, drove to the scene with his wife, only to find out that authorities had set up roadblocks and weren't allowing anyone to get to Jensen's house.

"I was sort of like a second dad to him," Dauch said. "I thought I could talk to him."

As he stood near a Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper, Dauch tried to call Jensen's cell phone number but did not get an answer.

A man who lives in the area, George Danilla III, also expressed shock at the news.

"He's a good guy. Easy-going. Do anything for you. At least he'd do anything for me," Danilla said. "In my opinion, it's not his nature."

Dauch described Jensen and his wife as "sort of semi-separated," although she would sometimes come over for dinner.

"They were supposed to go to Florida next week, him and his wife," Dauch said.

"I didn't know it was as bad as it was," Danilla said, referring to the couple's marriage.

They had been married for about 20 years, he said.

The incident took place in Jensen's one-story house on the north side of Ohio 113, just west of Berlin Road during a cold, foggy night.