Woman accused of killing her husband in Texas was involved in the shooting death of her ex-partner in 2018

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A woman charged in Texas with killing her husband was previously involved in the 2018 shooting death of her ex-partner, prosecutors in Minnesota said this week, announcing that the earlier case had been reopened.

Sarah Jean Hartsfield, who went by the last name Donahue, was indicted February 3 in Chambers County, Texas, with felony murder, court documents show. She is being held on $5 million bail.

The charge is related to the January 15 death of her husband Joseph Hartsfield, who died at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital after a «suspicious illness,» Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said in a statement. facebook post. Agents had been called to the hospital earlier that day and launched an investigation after being given inconsistent information.

Hawthorne said the inconsistencies along with «other determining factors made the disease appear more suspicious in nature.»

Authorities have not said what led to the death of Joseph Hartsfield, but Hawthorne said a crime is suspected. The cause of death has not been released.

«This is an active case and only limited details can be released at this time,» Hawthorne said in a statement. «I appreciate the hard work of the officers and detectives who followed their instincts and identified suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr. Hartfield’s death that could have been labeled ‘death by disease’ rather than murder.»

The sheriff told the NBC affiliate KPRC of Houston that during the investigation, detectives learned that Sarah Hartsfield had been married five times and that some of her former spouses had died. Detectives were able to speak to three of her ex-husbands.

Chambers County Sheriff’s Vehicles.Chambers County Sheriff’s Office / via Facebook

«Every relationship that it seems like she’s been in, everyone wants out of it because they fear for her life,» Hawthorne told the news station. «Several of them made the statement: ‘She needed to get out because I felt my life was in danger,’ and some found that her life was clearly in danger.»

Following the arrest, Douglas County, Minnesota, prosecutors said they were reopening a case in the death of David Bragg, who was fatally shot by Sarah Hartsfield at his home on May 9, 2018.

She was never charged in the case after Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson said it was self-defense. In a 2019 letter, Larson said that Hartsfield and Bragg had been in a physical altercation.

Hartsfield told responding officers that Bragg had fired a gun at her and she immediately shot him, the letter said. Bragg was found dead on the first floor of the home when deputies arrived, according to Larson’s letter.

The county attorney wrote that a crime scene team found a bullet hole «in a location consistent with Mr. Bragg firing his firearm at Ms. Donahue.» while walking up the stairs.» DNA, fingerprints and witness statements were also «consistent with Ms. Donahue’s version of events,» he said at the time.

Larson said in his 2019 letter that Hartsfield was «justified» in shooting Bragg because it was self-defense, but said Thursday the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office had received new information that caused the case to be considered active again.

The sheriff’s office directed questions to the county attorney, who did not provide further details.

Bragg’s family told KPRC they always thought the circumstances surrounding his death seemed «far-fetched and almost made up.»

«We are incredibly saddened to learn of the tragic loss of Mr. Joseph Hartsfield. As terrible as it was to hear, it came as no great surprise to our family as we, too, lost a precious member of our family to the hands of Sarah Donahue ( now Hartsfield). We are relieved to know that Douglas County is willing to reopen David’s case,» the family said.

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