Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Public safety

Couple's unstable relationship ends in murder-suicide, Hillsborough deputies say

TAMPA — Jason and Pamela Allen had a volatile relationship.

Married for more than eight years, the couple often argued and then made up, family members said. Court records echo the back and forth status of their relationship. In September 2012, Pamela Allen filed for divorce. It was voluntarily dismissed two months later.

Still, they lived apart and, as far as relatives know, had little contact. That's why what happened Friday has people on both sides confused.

Jason Allen, 38, shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. A relative found their bodies at Jason Allen's home at 1326 Windsor Way in Clair-Mel just before 7 p.m.

"We don't understand," said Sharon Blunt, the sister of Pamela Allen. "We don't know how she even ended up at that house."

Pamela Allen, 37, was a licensed practical nurse. She already had four kids by the time she met her husband — a boy, now 21 and in college; 17-year-old twin daughters; and the youngest, Makila Taylor, 16.

On Saturday afternoon, Taylor and her cousin, Ariona Rainge, 14, sat on the front porch of their grandmother's Safety Harbor home as relatives convened inside to mourn. The two girls recalled what they described as an endlessly toxic relationship between the couple.

Jason Allen was possessive, controlling and jealous, they said. Their grandmother, Loraine Barber, once phoned police when he showed up at her house uninvited looking for Pamela Allen and refused to leave, the teens said. Another time, he lured the wife into his truck and refused to let her leave for more than four hours, they said.

He had a girlfriend while still married, Taylor said, but sabotaged Pamela Allen's efforts to divorce him. Recently, a new man had come into her life. The teens think that especially disturbed the husband. Jason Allen had been following her recently, they said.

They last saw Pamela Allen on Wednesday night. The next day, her family filed a missing person report after she failed to show up for her nursing classes. Early Friday, one of Jason Allen's relatives found the couple in his home.

The family said sheriff's officials told them that both were naked, lying in bed with gunshot wounds to their heads. They were also told by officials that gunshot residue was found on his hands.

"We didn't think it would go this far," Taylor said. "I hate that they even met, just because it led up to this. Even though he helped raise us … The way she got killed, I don't think nobody deserves that at all."

Jason Allen had five children from previous relationships. He traveled the country doing odd building jobs, said Zarkissa Copeland, the mother of Jason Allen's youngest, a 14-year-old son. But when he had the time, she said, he tried to be a good dad.

"He wasn't around as much as he could have been," said Copeland, 31. "But when he was in town he tried to come over."

She knew Jason and Pamela Allen were having difficulties but wasn't sure exactly why.

"They had a very rough relationship," Copeland said. "A lot of arguing and fighting back and forth. She wanted him back but he didn't want her back."

Jason Allen spent two years in prison in 1994 on charges of carrying a concealed weapon. Four years later he was arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious behavior that were eventually dropped.

Pamela Allen's mother, Barber, thumbed through a photo album holding snapshots of her daughter and grandchildren on Saturday. There was her daughter's high school portrait, a snapshot of her in her nursing scrubs, pictures of her embracing her four children.

"When I have time to sit and think about my daughter, it's going to kill me," Barber said. "It's like a part of me that's been chopped off. I don't know how I'm going to get through this."

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Shelley Rossetter can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3401.

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