Fatal Attraction: Missouri Woman Accused Of Encouraging Rumored Boyfriend To Kill Her Husband
Tammy Holman claimed her spouse’s murderer had ‘delusional feelings’ and just wanted to be with her, detective says.
A Missouri couple at first appeared to be the picture of perfection, but their relationship soured as the years passed, and it came to a tragic end amid claims of cheating and conspiracy to commit murder.
Shortly after 7 p.m. on Nov. 21, 2000, law enforcement officers in the small town of Festus found Larry Holman, 44, fatally shot inside his vehicle on the grounds of a chemical plant where he was bowhunting.
The victim’s wife, Tammy Holman, was notified about what happened. “She showed up to the crime scene,” Det. William McDaniel of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department recalls. “She was very emotional whenever she spoke. It was one of those that really appeared that she was devastated that her husband had been killed.”
Larry first met Tammy at their church, and they fell head over heels for each other, family says. The couple got married and they went on to have two children. Eventually, rumors of infidelity swirled around the Holmans’ marriage.
“There was gossip in the church about how [Tammy] dressed when she went out behind Larry’s back, when she went to the bars and stuff,” claims Patty Huber, Larry’s sister. “I know Larry worked a lot, and she probably spent a lot of time at home by herself with the kids. Somewhere along the line, I guess she got lonely.”
Investigators initially believed a hunter’s stray bullet may have caused Larry’s death, but detectives moved away from the hunting accident theory and began to look closer at the men in Tammy’s life.
Family became alarmed when one suitor named Tim Smith moved into Tammy and Larry’s home soon after the shooting. “That is extremely suspicious, a new man coming in, sitting in the chair that Larry always sat in, it’s a huge red flag,” says Larry’s brother, Randy Holman.
Detectives dug into Smith’s background and found out he had no criminal history and he and Tammy had once been high school sweethearts. “Tim Smith’s actions could have been as a friend, but with it being so early in Larry’s death and him inserting himself back into Tammy’s life, it just seemed very odd,” Det. McDaniel notes.
In a police interview, Smith claimed Tammy invited him to move in with her around two weeks after her husband’s death and said he and Tammy were in love and planned to eventually get married.
As the investigation continued, authorities noted another man’s name also kept coming up: Charlie Miller.
Detectives were hearing in the small town where Tammy lived that Miller appeared obsessed with her. Larry’s brother also let the sheriff’s department know about a rumored relationship Miller was carrying on with Tammy. “I knew he had his eye on her,” Randy says. “I didn’t have a good feeling about the man.”
Before Larry died, he and Miller were friends but had a falling out once Miller began growing too close to Tammy. According to the victim’s family, the handyman was always finding reasons to go over to the couple’s house, such as to fix things.
Detectives were able to fully unravel the complicated case after digging into ballistic evidence. According to authorities, the shot that killed Larry came from a .243-caliber rifle, a popular hunting gun, and a tip came in that Miller owned the same type of firearm.
Larry’s best friend, Justin Duncan, recalls, “I remember Larry telling me that Charlie Miller showed him a gun … a .243, and I often wondered [if that] was the murder weapon that Charlie showed him.”
Police wondered too, and they brought Miller in for an interview. Miller admitted to investigators that he owned a .243-caliber rifle and it was seized and sent to a crime lab for ballistics testing.
Police also followed up on a witness’ tip about a man driving a red Nissan truck with a rifle but no hunting clothing who was seen at the time and near where Larry was killed. Detectives showed the witness a photo lineup containing multiple persons of interest in the case, including Tammy’s love interests, Tim Smith, and Charlie Miller.
The witness “immediately picked Charlie Miller” and “was also able to pick out Charlie Miller’s truck from the night that Larry Holman was killed,” Det. McDaniel says.
In January 2001, Miller, who was reportedly giving Tammy money and other gifts, confessed to police he killed Larry and explained in detail how he committed the murder.
“Charlie Miller reveals that Tammy Holman was encouraging him to kill her husband,” then Jefferson County Assistant District Attorney Tory Cardona says, noting that when a first assassination attempt didn’t work “Tammy would encourage [Miller] to finish the deed. And he did, on Nov. 21.”
Cardona added: “It became clear that Tammy Holman was the mastermind behind her husband’s death.”
Tammy adamantly denied she had anything to do with her husband’s death and attempted to pin the entire case on Charlie Miller.
“She stated that it was Charlie Miller that had delusional feelings” and he killed her husband because he wanted to be with her, Det. McDaniel says.
Cardona, now a circuit judge, says about Miller: “He’s another person who’s tied up in the heartstrings of Tammy Holman’s soap opera.”
In October 2002, Tammy accepted an Alford plea, which allowed her to admit prosecutors had enough evidence to potentially convict her but not confess guilt. A judge sentenced her to seven years behind bars for conspiracy to commit murder and she was released in 2009.
Tammy, now 54, continues to maintain she was not involved in her husband’s death.
In September 2003, Miller was sentenced to 25 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
Tammy’s live-in boyfriend, Smith, was cleared of any wrongdoing in the case.
For more on this case, tune into Murder in the Heartland on Nov. 23 at 9/8c on ID. Stream other episodes now on discovery+.