Grand jury indicts Franklin murder suspect

Published 5:02 pm Wednesday, January 19, 2011

COURTLAND—A grand jury this week handed down four felony indictments against a Franklin man accused of murdering his estranged wife last June.

Charles Steinert, 37, was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, the use of a firearm in the commission of a murder, malicious wounding and the use of a firearm in the commission of malicious wounding.

Steinert’s arraignment in Southampton County Circuit Court is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 25.

Police allege Steinert killed 37-year-old Tammy Jo Steinert at her home on Southampton Road.

Virginia State Police said Steinert arrived at his wife’s house with a revolver. Tammy Jo Steinert’s uncle, Joseph Michael Wise, 46, of Courtland, confronted Charles Steinert outside and was shot in the abdomen. Wise was flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for treatment.

Detectives believe Steinert shot and broke the window glass from a back door to his wife’s house, entered the home and chased two teenage girls and his wife into a bedroom. He then allegedly forced his way into the bedroom, shot his wife in the head and then barricaded himself in the house, holding the girls hostage.

After a standoff with police, Steinert released the girls unharmed four hours later. He then surrendered later.