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Man Arrested For Wife’s Murder 30 Years After Police Say He Staged Her Death To Look Like A Burglary

Karen Ann Norton's murder in December 1985 was initially believed to have been a robbery gone wrong, but police now say her husband John Norton was responsible.

By Ethan Harfenist

More than 30 years after a Maryland woman was murdered during what was initially believed to be a burglary, her husband has been charged in her death. 

John Joseph Norton was indicted on first-degree murder charges for the killing of Karen Ann Norton, who was slain on Dec. 17, 1985, according to the Baltimore County Police Dept. She was just 23 years old when she suffered a fatal stab wound to her upper body after getting home from work that evening.

Initially, police thought that the victim was killed by an unknown assailant during a robbery. But through the years, detectives homed in on John Norton as the primary suspect.

After hearing new evidence in the case that supported that theory, a grand jury issued an indictment on May 1, police said.

John Norton

“The detective currently investigating the case thoroughly re-examined crime scene photos to lay out exactly why earlier investigators began to believe the crime scene was staged,” Jennifer Peach, a Baltimore County Police spokeswoman, told the Baltimore Sun. “Things that seemed insignificant to witnesses when initially interviewed became significant details to the detective currently on the case.

Peach added that the detective “was able to get added information that supported the husband as the primary suspect” by re-interviewing those witnesses.

Norton is being held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center pending trial.

“This is something that the victim’s family has been waiting a really long time for,” Peach said, according to WBAL-TV. "It's been 33 years in the making and I think the investigators and the department, along with the family, are just ecstatic that we were finally able to get this case to the point where we can prosecute it.

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