Troup Reacts to Minister's Arrest in Wife's Murder - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/14/02 - Troup

Troup Reacts to Minister's Arrest in Wife's Murder

   Over the past week and a half there has been much speculation over who was responsible for Marla Tabb's murder.

   Could the killer still be out there in Troup, or could the sheriff's only suspect be the man who leads the congregation of the second largest church in town? All that has had the town in disbelief.

   "It's shocking," says John Whitsell, a church member. "I guess it sends a shock of reality that we are all human."

   Despite the shock, Troup was quiet Wednesday night. Perhaps, the only way for members of the First United Methodist Church to digest the charge of murder against their minister, Michael Tabb. The victim in this crime was his 35-year-old wife, Marla.

   "The outcome was really a shock. I believe this will allow us to heal and move on and kind of put this behind us, so we're not prisoners in our own homes," says Whitsell.

   News quickly travelled through the tiny town of Troup that minister Tabb turned himself in to sheriff's then arrested for striking his wife in the head and allegedly trying to clean it up.

   The brutality of the crime has devastated even those who don't belong to the church.

   "You know you have a stereotype of a minister being a little larger than life," says Bud Essary, Troup resident. "You never think of them as actually being someone who could carry so much rage inside of him to commit such and act, but I would like to think he is innocent until he's proven guilty."

   "But you hope humans can be above this kind of violence," says Russ Obar, Troup City Manager. "But, it's just shocking it is a minister, another swipe at the church."

   But leaders of the church had this to say in a statement Wednesday night, "We're hanging together and pulling together. We're shocked of course, but we're finding our way around it."

   Other's can't find their way around why Tabb's bond for murder was just $50,000.

   "If they have enough to charge, that means he should be treated as a man first, not a minister," says Essary.

   Which is why many are adamant about Tabb's's bond being higher and keeping him behind bars.

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