84-year-old woman arrested in 1984 murder of husband after cold case is re-opened

A Texas sheriff says an 84-year-old woman has been arrested for the murder of her husband in 1984, and it was a reality TV show that helped crack the cold case.

Leon County Sheriff Kevin Ellis said Wednesday that the arrest last week of Norma Allbritton was aided by the program “Cold Justice,” a reality-based television show where investigators dig up unsolved cold-cases.

“This truly was a team effort,” Ellis told the Palestine 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.”

The arrest of Allbritton marks the show’s 44th arrest, according to “Cold Justice” producers.

The Leon County Sheriff’s Office said that Johnnie Allbritton was found murdered in his home in 1984 outside of Buffalo Texas, 100 miles southeast of Dallas. An “intense investigation was conducted reviewing all possible leads.”

The Palestine Herald-Press reported that Allbritton was scheduled to take a polygraph test a few weeks following her husband’s death but allegedly shot herself on accident, and the polygraph test was never rescheduled.

The case was revisited in 2015 by sheriff’s investigators and new evidence was later forwarded to the TV show, but Ellis declined to disclose just exactly what evidence was presented that eventually led to the indictment of Norma Allbritton on a murder charge.

The Leon County Sherrif’s Office posted about the case on their Facebook page, saying that a Leon County Grand Jury returned an indictment for the charge of murder and an arrest warrant was issued for Norma Allbritton, who was taken into custody by Leon County investigators on July 1, 2019.

Producers of “Cold Justice” say the episode featuring the case of Johnnie Allbritton will air early next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.