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Norma Allbritton Arrested For Murder of Johnnie Allbritton

Norma Allbritton

A thirty-five year old cold case in Leon County may have come closer to a resolution with the arrest of 84 year old Norma Allbritton of Palestine. Allbritton, and her late husband, Johnnie Allbritton, had been long time residents of Buffalo in May of 1984 when Johnnie Allbritton was found shot to death in their home. The murder was brutal. Johnnie Allbritton was struck five times from shot gun blasts to the back and front of the body.

Norma Allbritton was arrested Monday, July 1st, for the murder of Johnnie Allbritton. Allbritton was taken into custody at her residence in Palestine, placed in handcuffs, transported to the Leon County Jail, and held on a $50,000 bond. On July 3rd, Allbritton?s attorney, Daniel Scarbrough of Palestine, posted bail for her release. Allbritton is presumed innocent of the charge.

At the time of the initial investigation made into the murder of Johnnie Allbritton in 1984, no arrests were made, but the case was never closed. The case has been looked at periodically in the years that followed under different sheriffs and by the Texas Rangers who opened an investigation into the murder in 1995. New technology that was not available at the time of the murder has helped with the current investigation.

The case is not closed with this arrest. The investigation continues. If anyone has information in connection with the death of Johnnie Allbritton, or any other related crime, they are asked to contact the Leon County Sheriff?s Office. ?We hope that this arrest will lead to all the truth coming out,? said Leon County Sheriff Kevin Ellis.

Ellis along with Texas Ranger Andres de la Garza began taking another look at the Allbritton case in 2015. ?We studied all the files and interviews that had been collected and recorded over the years. We digitized the information. And then I approached the TV series Cold Justice with what we had.?

?A small department like ours,? said Ellis, ?can?t really spend all the time needed to work on a cold case. It takes a lot of time, and there are current crimes committed that require work and man power. But, once Cold Justice was interested in the case, things really took shape. They have all the funding they want, and they have the technology, and they have their own lab, so they don?t have to wait for results.?

Ellis said that he was able to put two of his Investigators on the Allbritton case: Wayne Sallee and Tommy Page. The other investigators in the Sheriff?s Department had to take on extra assignments while Sallee and Page worked exclusively for five weeks on the Allbritton case to have all the information up-dated and ready for the Cold Justice team.

After 5 weeks of their own investigation and interviews, Sallee and Page worked 8 days with Cold Justice Investigator Johnny Bonds who is a retired Homicide Investigator for the Houston Police Department. With Bonds, Sallee and Page traveled all around the state to conduct interviews with persons who shared their recollections of events.

One of the persons they interviewed was the doctor who performed the autopsy on Johnnie Allbritton. ?He remembered the case,? said Sallee. ?He has done many autopsies, but not many where the victim suffered 5 shotgun blasts. That one stood out to him.?

?And the investigation was done at no cost to our county,? said Page. ?Cold Justice brought not only their expertise, but paid for the cost of trips to meet and interview people, and we interviewed about 50 people.?

One of the things that made this case hard to re-investigate after 35 years is that some of the people who had information have died. Also there were many rumors and half truths that had to be sorted out from facts.

?It?s been a long time since the murder happened, but over time and with the prior investigations done over the years, it started coming together,? said Ellis. ?It took putting all the original investigation and interviews, together with the new information collected by Sallee and Page, and bringing in Cold Justice to get us to the point where we were able to present the case to a grand jury on June 27th and get the indictment against Norma Allbritton.?

?I won?t rest though,? added Ellis, ?and I don?t think my investigators will rest, until everyone involved in this case, and with other possible crimes related to it, all see justice. This is a case that has troubled me since it happened, and I was still a kid. And we have other cold cases, that we are looking at and will continue to investigate.?

To this day, no one who has been considered a suspect in the murder of Johnnie Allbritton has taken a polygraph test. Both Norma Allbritton and her son by an earlier marriage, Randy Clinkscale, have been offered the opportunity many times to take a polygraph but have refused. In 1984, Norma Allbritton was scheduled to take a polygraph test, but she suffered a shotgun wound in her home that morning, was hospitalized, and the polygraph was never performed.

Allbritton described the gunshot she suffered that morning in 1984 as an accident. According to the investigators, there are two versions Allbritton has given on how she was accidentally shot.

At present, Cold Justice, predicts that their episode on the investigation of the Allbritton murder will air in March or April of 2020.

Anyone who has information about this case is encouraged to call the Leon County Sheriff?s office and speak to the sheriff or one of the investigators. This case is still under investigation and has not been closed. New information is being studied, and if anyone can contribute more, it may prove helpful.