Maryland cops arrest man in wife’s cold case murder after proving crime scene was staged: report

More than three decades after a Maryland newlywed was fatally stabbed in an apparent house break-in, cold case detectives have charged her husband with the murder, police said.

Baltimore County Police on Monday announced the indictment of John Norton for his wife’s murder. It was Norton who found his 23-year-old wife, Karen Norton, after she had been stabbed to death in their Catonsville home on Dec. 17, 1985.

Norton, 57, of Sykesville, Md., wasn’t a suspect initially but, after years of studying crime scene photos, police were able to prove the crime scene had been staged, WBAL-TV reported.

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“This is something that the victim’s family has been waiting a really long time for,” police spokeswoman Jennifer Peach told the station. "It's been 33 years in the making and I think the investigators and the department, along with the family, are just ecstatic that we were finally able to get this case to the point where we can prosecute it."

Police said at the time of the murder that Karen Norton was killed after she arrived home from work at J.C. Penney and interrupted a burglary.

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Her husband discovered the body when he got home about an hour later and found her keys in the front door, the Baltimore Sun reported at the time.

Over time, detectives began to narrow in on Norton as the prime suspect as they continued to work the case, police said in a news release.

“Recent developments in the case have uncovered new evidence that further supported that theory,” the news release said.

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WBAL reported that Norton was jailed without bail.