Tyler Morning Telegraph, Jan. 3, 2003
By: MARK COLLETTE, Staff Writer
Officials say they have received DNA results from blood traces taken from shoes and a vehicle belonging to the Troup minister accused of killing his wife in a Methodist church parsonage last year.
“It’s back, and we’re pleased with the results,” said Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith.
Smith made the remarks after viewing what he deemed a “very accurate” portrayal of the investigation into the bludgeoning death of 35-year-old Marla Tabb, aired on “Dateline NBC” Friday night.
The Rev. Mike Tabb, 41, is charged with the murder and his case is still pending before a grand jury. His attorney, F.R. “Buck” Files Jr. of Tyler, said he would watch the television program but said he does not comment on pending cases.
Despite an apparently happy marriage, with Ms. Tabb giving birth to her second son just weeks before her murder, the investigation revealed hints of a troubled past.
“There was a dark side to this minister, and we found it,” Smith said.
Investigators say Mike Tabb maintained two post office boxes – one in Troup and one in Camp Lejeune, N.C., where the couple lived before moving to Troup about two months before the murder. Tabb reportedly tried to keep the boxes secret.
“It was in regards to things that he didn’t want his wife to know about – his wife or his family,” Smith said, declining to reveal further details.
The Aug. 6 death of Ms. Tabb, known by friends and family as a happy, religiously devout young mother who enjoyed singing in church services, shocked the town of Troup, which has a population of about 1,900.
Mike Tabb phoned authorities about 6 p.m. the day of the murder to report his wife had been struck multiple times with what could have been a baseball bat, according to his taped 911 call.
The minister reportedly told authorities he left home to visit with family, went to the store with his 2-year-old son and returned home to find his wife dead. The couple’s 6-week-old son, inside the home at the time of the murder, was not injured.
Investigators have cast doubt on Tabb’s story, saying they can only account for his whereabouts during the time he spent visiting his parents.
Efforts were made to clean the minister’s shoes and truck, which yielded the blood evidence, investigators said.
Asked by a “Dateline NBC” reporter what positive DNA results would mean, Smith replied: “That minister better start singing ‘Amazing Grace,’ because he’s going to prison.”