An 84-year-old Texas woman has been charged with the murder of her husband…35 years after the fact.
Thanks to a television show’s advanced forensic technology, law enforcement was able to crack the case of the 35-year-old murder of Johnnie Allbritton. Allbritton was found dead on May 14, 1984; authorities said he was shot five times as he entered his home. Texas newspaper, The Eagle, reported that, Allbritton’s wife, Norma, arrived home with a child around 4 p.m. and found the door locked.
The women reportedly looked inside the home through the windows and saw guns. Worried, she called police to request a home search. Police initially thought Allbritton was killed during a robbery, as they found a blanket near the body and believed it was used to carry items out the home. The family also reported that a bag full of money was missing. However, two weeks after Allbritton’s death, which was deemed a suicide, Norma was scheduled to take a polygraph test but canceled, claiming she’d accidentally shot herself. The polygraph was never rescheduled, and the case eventually was forgotten.
But karma came back for Norma in 2015 when Leon County Sheriff, Kevin Ellis, reached out to the TV show producers of Cold Justice and sent over evidence from the investigation. PEOPLE reports that in five weeks, the sheriff’s office worked with Johnny Bonds, a producer for the show who used to be a homicide investigator for the Houston Police Department, to solve the mystery murder. “This truly was a team effort,” Ellis told the Palestine Herald-Press. “Without Cold Justice, I don’t think we could’ve progressed as we have — but they also couldn’t have done it without the LCSO staff.”
Allbritton was arrested July 1 and transported to the Leon County Jail, where she stayed until posting a $50,000 bond on July 3. Authorities announced that they are investigating the death of Allbritton’s 13-year-old daughter, who was fatally shot with a rifle inside the same home where her father died. Police are investigating whether Norma was involved.