Authorities are crediting the reality-based true-crime show “Cold Justice” with helping solve a 35-year-old murder that got the victim’s 84-year-old widow arrested for the crime.
Police arrested Norma Allbritton of Buffalo, Texas on July 1 in the murder of her husband, Johnnie, who was 64 when he was found dead on May 14, 1984, inside the couple’s home. He had been shot five times.
Allbritton posted $50,000 bond two days later.
Back when the murder occurred, Norma Allbritton had recounted arriving home with a child at 4 p.m., finding the door unlocked and calling police after seeing guns through the window, USA Today reported.
She was scheduled to take a lie detector test about two weeks later, the Palestine Herald-Press reported, but told authorities at the time that she had dropped a .410-gauge shotgun and accidentally shot herself. The polygraph never happened.
The case went cold, but on its 30th anniversary in 2015, Leon County Sheriff Kevin Ellis digitized all related materials and enlisted Cold Justice, which accepted the challenge.
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Interviewing more than 50 people, combing through existing evidence and pursuing new leads, they were able to charge Allbritton.
“This truly was a team effort,” Ellis told the Herald-Press Tuesday. “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 Allbritton was a well-known businessman in the community, running the local grocery, according to local news outlet Leon County Today. The then-Norma Clinkscales had been his dying wife’s caregiver, Leon County Today reported, and Allbritton married her after his wife died.
“The morning of the murder on May 14, 1984, Johnnie Allbritton was entering his residence through a sliding glass door and as he was entering into the residence he was shot five times,” Ellis told KBTX-TV.