An 84-year-old woman has been arrested in the 35-year-old murder of her husband, not long after the case was re-examined by Oxygen’s "Cold Justice" team.
Johnnie Allbritton was found shot to death in his home located outside Buffalo, Texas back in 1984. He had been struck five times in both the chest and back with a 20-gauge shotgun, the Palestine Herald reports. No arrests were made at the time.
In fact, no arrests were made for more than three decades until July 1, when his now-elderly wife, Norma Allbritton, of Palestine, was taken into custody on a charge of first-degree murder. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office noted that the arrest came after an “intense investigation” by both their staff and the “Cold Case” review team.
The re-examination began in 2015 shortly after the 30th anniversary of the shooting. At that time, Leon County Sheriff Kevin Ellis digitized the files and evidence and then contacted “Cold Justice,” which took on the case.
Ellis told Oxygen.com that he and the “Cold Justice” team communicated back and forth before the team flew in for about eight days. It wasn’t the first time he’d worked with the team nor the first time they helped him get an arrest. Ellis noted that his office got a confession out of a sex crimes suspect for a 2015 episode of “Cold Justice.”
“I can’t say enough about them,” Ellis told Oxygen.com of the “Cold Justice” team. “It’s just amazing to work with them. To have them come in and work with my guys, it put a new view of an older case and all of them put their thoughts together with my investigators and pieced the case together.”
Back in 1984, two weeks after her husband died, Norma Allbritton was supposed to take a polygraph, but she accidentally shot herself with a shotgun the morning the test was scheduled, according to the Palestine Herald. The test was never rescheduled.
Three years before Johnnie’s murder, the couple's 13-year-old daughter Pam Allbritton, died from a gunshot wound, a death that was determined to be a suicide. However, that case remains open, and now it’s getting another look, Ellis told Oxygen.com.
“Through this investigation, it has revealed more possible evidence into the possible suicide of Pam Allbritton, and now we are full force investigating that,” he said.
Norma Allbritton was released two days after her arrest after posting $50,000 bail, according to online records. It is unclear if she has an attorney at this time.
The Allbritton murder episode of “Cold Justice” is expected to air on Oxygen in the spring of 2020.
Tonya Rider, a former Toledo Police Department detective and "Cold Justice" host, told Oxygen at CrimeCon 2019 that the show has now contributed to more than 40 arrests. Around 20 convictions have resulted from the show’s efforts, including the recent conviction of Robin Mendez, who bludgeoned his wife to death in 1982 at her credit union job in Wisconsin. Among some of the other more recent successes, “Cold Justice” was credited with breaking a cold case in Colorado which saw Jesse Hogue arrested for allegedly murdering his ex-wife in 1994 and for the arrest of Dustin Koelliker for allegedly killing his girlfriend in Oklahoma in 2011.
Anyone with information about the Allbritton deaths is encouraged to call the Leon County Sheriff’s office at 903-536-2749.
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