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Christiansburg man pleads guilty to second-degree murder of his wife after shooting her in May

Officials found writings from the wife that indicated that he abused alcohol and was physically violent with her

Gerald Tompkins has been charged with second-degree murder after authorities say he shot and killed his wife
Gerald Tompkins has been charged with second-degree murder after authorities say he shot and killed his wife (WSLS)

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – A Christiansburg man pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his wife back in May.

At 8:47 p.m. on May 19, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reported that Gerard Tompkins called 911 and said he shot his wife.

Deputies, along with Lt. Eaton, were dispatched to the 1400 block of Red Hawk Run in Christiansburg where they saw a car with the driver’s side windows knocked out and broken glass on the ground.

[Christiansburg man charged with second-degree murder after authorities say he shot, killed his wife]

According to authorities, a woman later identified as 51-year-old Michelle Tompkins was slumped over the wheel and was unresponsive to Lt. Eaton. A rescue squad later found that she wasn’t breathing and they couldn’t find a pulse.

Lt. Eaton approached the house to find Gerard laying face down on the floor of the kitchen with a revolver past his outreached hands. The revolver was a Smith & Wesson revolver, .357 Mag., with a seven-shot cylinder, and investigation shows that all seven rounds were fired.

Gerard was initially unresponsive to authorities, but eventually told authorities that he killed his wife.

He was arrested for murder and secured in Lt. Eaton’s car where authorities said he acted like he didn’t know what happened to his wife and demanded to know where she was. He continued to ask if he wrecked his car, his wife’s location and if he was in the magistrate’s office for a DUI.

At about 11 p.m., Gerard was in jail where he was given the opportunity to call someone. After a sergeant asked if he has any family to call, he said: “I don’t have kids and I just killed my wife. No one will want to talk to me.”

Authorities said the car Gerard’s wife Michelle was found in was still running upon arrival with gunshot holes in the door.

They said Michelle appeared to have been shot multiple times while she sat in the driver’s seat of the car, wearing slippers and no bra, which authorities said is an indication she left the house in a hurry. Officials also said she had her cell phone on and recording.

Authorities report her autopsy lists her cause of death as a gunshot wound of the chest. They found nine gunshot wounds, which they said is due to the seven shots from the revolver creating multiple entrance wounds as they moved through her body.

After a home search, officials found writings from Michelle that indicated that Gerard abused alcohol and had been physically violent with her.

Three months prior to the murder, authorities said Michelle told her friend and a co-worker that Gerard grabbed her and left a bruise on her arm. She also told her friend Gerard drank to the point of passing out most nights and she would lock herself in her room to avoid him.

Michelle also told her friend she frequently recorded her husband’s tirades on her cellphone.

Gerard was sentenced to 38 years in prison with 10 years suspended after a plea agreement with Judge K. Mike Fleenor. When he’s released, he will be on supervised probation for 10 years.


About the Author:

Nicole Del Rosario joined WSLS 10 in August 2020.