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Joe and Michelle Gable: Timeline of a troubled relationship

Joe and Michelle Gable: Timeline of a troubled relationship

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As more details emerge from Thursday’s fatal shooting of Joseph Gable and Sunday Cooley Bennett, so does a history of a tumultuous relationship.

- Joseph and Michelle Gable were married at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland in 1986, and he was stationed at bases in Washington and North Dakota before moving to Montana sometime around 2003.

- According to police reports, at 7:07 p.m. on Sept. 27, 2003, Michelle Gable, who was residing at the Cutler Street home with her husband, called police to say he was missing. She reported that Joseph Gable had left on his Harley Davidson motorcycle the previous day at 1 p.m. He returned home at 1:55 p.m. Sept. 29, and the missing person report was closed out.

- On June 20, 2004, at 5:34 p.m. Michelle Gable reported that her husband had deliberately pushed her off his motorcycle. She was taken to St. Peter’s Hospital emergency room, complaining of shortness of breath and headache but with no visible signs of injury. It’s unclear whether anyone was charged in that incident. 

- At 10:44 a.m. on Sept. 5, 2005, Michelle Gable called police dispatchers to say that her husband had been in an accident a few days earlier and their friends had his property and wouldn’t return it. An officer called the friends, and later told Michelle Gable that her husband had given the friends permission to hold the property until he got out of the hospital.

- Three years later, at 11:45 a.m. on July 11, 2008, Joseph Gable was listed as the complainant on police dispatch forms, but the dispatcher said that a female was requesting an officer, because “she is involved in a confrontation with two males.” She requested the officer meet her outside and wouldn’t stay on the phone. Officers who arrived at the scene at 12:38 p.m. said Michelle Gable was “very upset to the point of being hysterical,” because her lawn was being mowed at the request of the rental property manager. 

“Upon my arrival, the lawn was being mowed and she was in the street screaming at them to stop. She stated she was having trouble breathing and asked for an ambulance,” the dispatch report states. But when the ambulance arrived, she refused transport or further medical attention. The property manager also came to the Cutler Street home, telling officers he was on vacation and hadn’t been able to return her phone calls from her asking him to delay having the lawn mowed.

“Michelle was very angry and feels like she’s been ignored. She stated her life was in danger today and wants to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” dispatch records state. “While I was present, (the property manager) and Michelle came to an agreement that she or her husband will mow the lawn from now on. She was claiming that the lawn mowers the other people were using had pesticides on them which made her sick.”

- By Sept. 20, 2011, it appears the couple was separated. Police received a 911 call at 9:25 a.m. that day from Michelle Gable, who said she was trying to get her belongings and was assaulted by Joseph Gable. The report states that she was parked at Rodney and Broadway and her husband was gone on arrival. The locks had been changed and the landlord didn’t have a key.

- The next day, Joseph Gable filed a petition for a temporary order of protection in Lewis and Clark District Court. He said his wife lived in Maryland and they were married but separated. He said his wife was intimidating him, had held him against his will and was stalking him.

The restraining order states that as Joseph Gable was changing the locks on the house between 9:30 and 10 a.m. on Sept. 20, his wife came inside and said she wanted to get her belongings. He said she threw his laptop computer down the stairs, breaking it into pieces. She left the house, but had pulled her car behind his in the driveway and blocked his exit. He returned to the home.

“She has been out of Montana on the East Coast in Maryland for over two years, came back unannounced and is now trying to disrupt my life any way she can apparently,” Joseph Gable wrote in his request for the restraining order. 

He added that she didn’t possess any firearms, as far as he knew.

Later that day, his request was denied, with the judge stating that “no personal danger or threat” was involved.

- On Sept. 23, 2011, a friend of Michelle Gable called police at 4 p.m. requesting a welfare check on Michelle, who was staying at a local hotel. The friend said she spoke with Michelle and was concerned for her mental health, adding that her friend was “hysterical” and “in a state of shock.”

“She’s distraught over a male being arrested and now released” in association with a partner or family member assault charge, and “states he doesn’t want her back,” the friend told the dispatcher.

Police arrived at the hotel at 4:17 p.m., but Michelle Gable wasn’t in her room. They called her cell and left a message for her.

n On Oct. 11, Joseph Gable filed divorce papers, citing there was “serious marital discord” and no prospect of reconciliation. He was shot and killed at the Cutler Street home two days later.


Reporter Eve Byron: 447-4076 or


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