Amherst, VA - It's been one week since a former Amherst County Sheriff's Deputy killed his wife, and then himself in Virginia Beach. Dennie and Tammy Black were laid to rest Sunday in Amherst County.
Tammy's sister Michelle Bryant says her sister was killed the very day she was denied an emergency protective order. She says the legal system is not the only one that failed her family; it was the mental health system as well. She says her brother-in-law sought mental help a few weeks ago, only to be turned away and told to wait for treatment until after the New Year.
Flowers fill the home of Michelle Bryant, reminders of loved ones lost too soon.
"She was just beautiful on the inside and the outside," said Bryant.
After twenty four years of marriage, Tammy Black told her sister she and her husband Dennie planned to split.
"She just couldn't deal with the mental and verbal abuse from him any more and that he had really changed since he got back from Kuwait," said Bryant.
After learning about her troubled relationship, Michelle kept in close contact with her sister. The Sunday before Christmas she became alarmed at a ranting facebook post from Dennie.
"She said she was going down to file a restraining order," said Bryant.
A police officer took Tammy to the magistrate's office to get an emergency protective order.
"She did say, 'I just don't want anybody mad at me for doing this.' And my exact words to her were, 'It's better for them to be mad at you than for him to kill you," said Bryant.
However, Michelle says Tammy was not granted the order.
"I was like, 'Tammy, why was it denied?' And she said because of him not saying specifically to her that day that he was going to kill her. He said he was going to destroy her," said Bryant.
Michelle begged Tammy to head home to Amherst.
"And she said, 'I'm coming home, I'll see you later.' and that was the last time I talked to my sister," said Bryant.
Michelle says it was when Tammy returned home alone, without police protection, that Dennie shot her multiple times and then killed himself.
"It didn't have to happen," said Bryant.
Michelle said that Dennie spoke to his commanding officer a few weeks ago about some mental issues he was having. She said he was told he could not be scheduled for treatment until January 2nd. She says she can't help but think both Tammy and Dennie would be alive if things had been handled differently.
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