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August 21st, 2009
03:13 PM ET

Man goes from heroic husband to hammer-wielding wife killer

Michael Ratley will spend the rest of his life in jail, without parole, for killing his wife with a hammer.

Michael Ratley will spend the rest of his life in jail, without parole, for killing his wife with a hammer.

Mallory Simon
CNN

Michael Ratley was known as a hero. In December 2006, Ratley carried his 2-week-old son, Aiden, and his wife, Effie Ratley, 29, from the flames as fire engulfed their Bryceville, Florida, trailer.

Days after the fire, a teary-eyed Ratley told local media that love drove him to save their lives. "I might have lost everything physical, but I've still got my two most precious things," Michael Ratley told CNN affiliate WJXT-TV at the time.

A month later, Effie Ratley was dead, bludgeoned with a hammer in a bedroom of her in-laws' home, not far from the trailer's ashes on a dirt road marked only with a black arrow on a wooden sign.

The man who was hailed as a hero for saving his wife was convicted in July of murdering her.

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Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. sassy

    Sorry, this is what control freaks do....They end your life if they can't control you. It's so sad that innocent people end up in this situation.

    August 23, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  2. Liz

    sounds like the baby has been saved from a future living hell with a mad father

    August 23, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  3. janinpenna

    Why don't these unstable men just stay single and leave women alone instead of getting married? They abuse their children and kill their wives. I'm sick to death of innocent people being murdered by their "loved ones".

    August 22, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  4. pdw

    does anyone else think maybe he started the fire that almost killed them and then conveniently "saved" his wife and child? maybe never a hero....

    August 22, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  5. Teresa, OH

    re:" In December 2006, Ratley carried his 2-week-old son, Aiden, and his wife, Effie Ratley, 29, from the flames as fire engulfed their Bryceville, Florida, trailer."

    I'm wondering what started the fire. Perhaps Ratley was going to off them all and wised up at the last minute there. Odd that he was the only one able to walk out and the other 2 needed carried. He tried to kill her before he actually killed her, me thinks.

    @Linda: on the video games. I used to think that too. Now that I'm older and I like to think a tad wiser, I realize that it isnt the video games. It's people/ parents/ caregivers not caring enough to turn off the tv and games and interact with the kids. I always say- you truly cannot PAY people to care. There aint enough money : )

    August 22, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  6. Linda Carel

    imagine the scenario...he saved her life...he becomes a hero...his ego blows up. They have a disagreement and she refuses to give in. He says "I saved your life and you won't do this for me?" He short circuits. That's my guess.

    Call it crazy, but I honestly believe the violence on video games and in the media have created a society of people who have been weaned on sex and violence. Go figure.

    August 22, 2009 at 12:26 am |
  7. dnb

    Also, did anyone else notice that they didn't say what evidence was used to convict him? Kinda weird... I wonder how they proved it was him.

    August 22, 2009 at 12:17 am |
  8. dnb

    @k: I'm terribly sorry for you, but the fact that it happened to you doesn't make it less of a big deal. It's messed up whether it's old news (in some twisted way) or not.

    Really, I agree with Annie Kate.

    August 22, 2009 at 12:14 am |
  9. Cheyla

    testosterone poisoning – castrate 'em

    August 21, 2009 at 11:08 pm |
  10. Annie Kate

    Save his wife from a fire to killing her a short time later – I wonder what made that change possible. I feel for the baby, though, who now has lost both his parents.

    August 21, 2009 at 7:56 pm |
  11. rich

    a beast, what can drive a human to do this?

    August 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  12. jeanne

    they should dispose of this MAGGOT, in the same manner
    he murdered his wife !!!!!!!!

    August 21, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  13. sydney

    Just when ya think ya know someone they flip the bleep out and kill your butt...What's up with that?? Thanks for the post!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  14. k

    My chivalrous husband stabbed me 14 times. So this isnt a big story to me. He used to make me breakfast in bed.

    August 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  15. mom2thadd

    OMG what is wrong with people in this world??? It just sickens me that people like this are allowed to live!

    August 21, 2009 at 3:55 pm |