Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

August 21, 2013

Inquest reveals wife shot husband then herself

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

DECATUR — Nobody may ever know why Denise Robertson shot and critically wounded her husband in bed, then walked to the patio of their Bethany home and ended her life with a bullet to the mouth.

That was the verdict rendered Wednesday by a Macon County coroner's jury. The inquest was held in Macon County because emergency personnel tried to save Mrs. Robertson on the ride to St. Mary's Hospital in Decatur, where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Special Agent Doug Leconte of the Illinois State Police said potential motives for the double shooting are still being investigated.

Michael Robertson was well-known in the Effingham area as an insurance agent before moving to Decatur, then Bethany. A family friend said Mrs. Robertson worked as her husband's administrative assistant.

Leconte told the eight-person jury that Michael Robertson made a 911 call at 8:32 a.m. July 4 with the complaint that he was bleeding from the chest. He didn't immediately realize he had been shot.

"He initially wondered what happened," Leconte said.

Leconte said Michael Robertson called for his wife, who turned and walked out of the room. The agent added that Robertson, who had been in bed at the time he was shot, continued to call for his wife as he was dialing 911.

The agent said Mrs. Robertson did come back into the room, but with a "quizzical" look on her face. And, she walked back out of the room without showing any concern for her husband.

The investigation revealed that Mrs. Robertson walked onto the couple's patio. When police arrived, they found her seated in a patio chair with a revolver in her right hand and a gunshot wound to the roof of her mouth. Because her body was still twitching when police arrived, extensive efforts were made to revive her en route to the hospital.

"Their job is to save a life and that's what they tried to do," Macon County Coroner Michael Day said.

Michael Robertson was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana for treatment of his injury. Day said he has since been released from the hospital.

While the Robertsons were known as a compatible, happy couple, Leconte did report that Mrs. Robertson had told some prospective out-of-town guests to stay away during the holiday because she wasn't feeling well.

Day said there was no indication that anybody else was at the home at the time of the shootings.

An autopsy conducted by Dr. Jeff Harkey at the McLean County Morgue the day after the shootings showed that Mrs. Robertson died from a cranio-encephalic injury caused by a gunshot wound. Toxicology tests were negative for either alcohol or illegal drugs.

Day said investigators could not find a specific incident that led to the tragic events of July 4.

While Michael Robertson did not attend the inquest, a family friend did at the family's request, he said.

The man, who declined to give his name, said nobody in the Robertsons' circle of friends and family could have imagined such a sad series of events.

"They were the most loving couple I ever met," he said. "I still can't imagine what made her trip out like this.

"I just can't believe it."