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TV Show Helps Lead to 84-Year-Old's Arrest for Murder

Norma Allbritton arrested thanks to partnership between authorities, reality show
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2019 1:42 PM CDT
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Norma Allbritton   (Leon County Sheriff's Office)

(Newser) – For decades, the death of Johnnie Allbritton—shot with a 20-gauge shotgun in the chest and back as he entered his Buffalo, Texas, home on May 14, 1984—had remained unsolved. Then, in 2015, Leon County Sheriff Kevin Ellis digitized the files and evidence and sent it all to Cold Justice, the reality show about unsolved cases. Sheriff's office investigators teamed up with a retired homicide investigator who works with the show, and—all on the show's dime—traveled around the state interviewing about 50 people, including witnesses and persons of interest. The show also provided the latest forensic technology and access to its own lab. The result? Allbritton's now 84-year-old wife, Norma, was arrested July 1 and charged with the murder, Texas' Palestine Herald reports. Ellis said there's new evidence, but didn't elaborate, nor did he discuss motive.

Norma Allbritton claimed to have arrived home on the day of her husband's murder and called police when she found the doors locked and saw guns through the window. Police then found his body. The Eagle reports the family reported several thousand dollars missing; investigators believe the scene was staged to look like a break-in and burglary. According to reports from 1984, Norma Allbritton was supposed to take a polygraph test two weeks after her husband died. But she allegedly shot herself accidentally right before the test when she dropped a shotgun; authorities says her stories about how exactly that happened have shifted. The test was never rescheduled. In 1981 the couple's daughter Pam died at age 13 from a gunshot wound in the same house. The death was ruled a suicide, but KBTX reports that case is now being reviewed too. (Read more cold cases stories.)

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