Slain mother remembered as 'devoted to her 6 kids'

John Allender is accused of murdering his estranged wife, Cheryl (WKRC)

MENTOR, Ky. (WKRC) - As Campbell County investigators went over the crime scene Wednesday morning, John W. Allender was in jail on murder charges.

His estranged wife, Cheryl Allender, is dead, and members of the Mentor Baptist Church struggled to comfort the six children left alone by the killing.

Neighbors in the tiny Mentor community were going about their lives. They heard the Allenders were getting a divorce, but they never expected violence.

“I wasn’t a fan of him anyway,” neighbor Donna Ecklar said. “So I’m shocked, but I’m not.”

Campbell County Police say they responded to the KY Route 8 home after John called 911 and claimed he had shot his wife in self-defense. When officers arrived, they found him lying in the front yard with a handgun nearby.

Cheryl was dead of gunshot wounds in the home. Witnesses told police that Cheryl did not have a chance to grab a gun prior to the shooting.

John was taken for questioning where he told police he shot his estranged wife four to five times “center mass.” He was charged with murder and taken to the Campbell County Detention Center.

Cheryl was remembered on Wednesday as a devoted mother and hard worker. Brett Reid, her manager at the California Marketplace, described her as “an amazing employee and even better person.”

Friends said she was involved at Mentor Baptist. Cheryl and all six children were avid martial arts students. She was scheduled to test for her second-degree black belt in June. All six children have junior black belts.

“Just an amazing individual,” Martial Arts America-Wilder owner Julia Woods said Wednesday afternoon while holding back tears. “She cared about everyone in the school. She would do anything for her kids. Her kids came first. Always.”

John will be arraigned on the murder charge in Campbell District Court Thursday morning.

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