84-year-old Texas woman charged in 1984 murder of husband who was shot five times in the chest: 'Pure evil in disguise'
Norma Allbritton, 84, was arrested earlier this month for the unsolved 1984 homicide of her husband, Johnnie Allbritton
A Palestine, Texas woman has been arrested and charged in connection with a 35-year-old cold case concerning the murder of her husband.
Norma Allbritton, 84, was arrested earlier this month for the unsolved 1984 homicide of her husband, Johnnie Allbritton, according to a press release by the Leon County Sheriff's Office (LCSO).
The closure to the decades-old case would not have come if it weren't for Oxygen's 'Cold Justice,' a reality-based television series where investigators dig into unsolved cold cases, admitted LCSO Sheriff Kevin Ellis.
"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."
Johnnie was found murdered in his home outside Buffalo, Texas, in 1984. He had been shot five times in the chest with a 20-gauge shotgun.
Norma was reportedly due to take a polygraph test two weeks after her husband's death but pulled out at the last moment after allegedly shooting herself on the morning of the test when she accidentally dropped a .410 shotgun. The test was never rescheduled.
Neither the LCSO nor the Texas Rangers could uncover any other tangible leads in the case, and the murder remained a cold-case for the next three decades.
In 2015, after the 30th anniversary of the death, Ellis digitized the case files and evidence and sent it to 'Cold Justice' for consideration. The show's producers accepted.
After five weeks of preparatory work by LCSO investigators, deputies teamed up with 'Cold Justice' investigator Johnny Bonds, a retired homicide investigator for the Houston Police Department, to once again comb through the case.
They traveled across the state, interviewing witnesses and persons of interest from the past 35 years. The show also boasted of cutting-edge forensic technology and had their own lab, which meant the LCSO no longer had to wait for months for results.
On June 27 last month, they had collected enough evidence to have a Leon County Grand Jury return an indictment for the charge of murder against Norma and an arrest warrant was issued in her name. She was arrested by Leon County investigators four days later, on July 1.
“This is not a Lifetime movie. The devil has many disguises. We are dealing with pure evil in disguise,” Johnnie’s daughter Julie Allbritton Robinson wrote in a Facebook post. “Believe me when I say I appreciate all the hard work of the investigators and the cooperation of those who had knowledge and willing to share it.”
Authorities also revealed that three years prior to Johnnie's death, the couple's 13-year-old daughter Pam had died from a gunshot wound as well. That death had been ruled a suicide at the time, but investigators are now looking into that case as well.
Norma was being held at the Leon County Jail until she posted a $50,000 bond on July 3.