This file image show the billboard shows the rewards billboard for the Striker case along Congress Parkway in Athens.Photo by Staff Photo by Ron Clayton
The owner of an Athens, Tenn., winery, whose wife died in an apparent robbery there in 2000, shot and wounded two of his children at the business before taking his own life Wednesday afternoon, sources told the Times Free Press.
The McMinn County Sheriff’s Office and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed there was a shooting Wednesday in which two juveniles were injured, but would not confirm the identities.
However, multiple sources, include some inside area law enforcement, told the Times Free Press that Stanley Striker shot his two minor children and then himself inside the family business, Striker’s Premium Winery near exit 49 off Interstate 75.
One source said the youngsters, a boy and a girl, ran wounded from the winery to a neighbor’s place seeking help. Sources said the boy was listed in critical condition and the girl in better condition,. Striker’s own injury was fatal, sources said.
No other information was immediately available Wednesday night. Sheriff Joe Guy could not be reached for comment.
The children’s mother, Patty Striker, also died in the winery, on April 10, 2000, at age 35. She and her husband had operated the business for about two years and lived in a house on the property
It looked like a robbery. An employee found her body on the floor of the main office about 9 a.m. She had been shot in the head with a large-caliber weapon. Investigators said the cash register was taken and change was strewn all over the floor, according to newspaper archives.
At the time, Stanley Striker was at work at the Bowater paper plant in Calhoun.
The murder weapon and cash register were never found. Then-Gov. Don Sundquist put up half of a $5,000 reward but it was never claimed. In early 2006, McMinn County authorities put ads on two large billboards in Athens, Tenn., offering a $60,000 reward, but the case remains unsolved.
Patty Striker’s mother, Sheila Derrick, said at the time that she never believed the case was a robbery, according to archives. She said her daughter had had problems ever since she married Stanley, 19 years her senior.
“He did not want Patty around any of us, her own family,” her mother said.
A year after the murder, Patty’s oldest son from a previous marriage filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Stanley Striker. He accused Stanley of killing Patty or planning her murder.
“She had always told everyone that he was going to kill her,” Derrick said.
But Striker had a solid alibi at work and was never charged. It's unclear what became of the lawsuit.